Christmas is coming early to the good folks at the Los Angeles Times. Not only is owner Sam Zell conceding he won't be active in a post-bankruptcy Tribune Company, I'm told that the Times is getting back operational control of the Tribune Washington bureau. Times editor Russ Stanton announced the change today, which means management authority over the bureau will reside in Los Angeles, not with a Tribune committee in Chicago headed by the publisher of the company's Fort Lauderdale paper. You might remember that the LAT had one of the, if not the, largest and best-regarded newspaper bureaus in Washington. Then the Zellnoids sided with Chicago in Tribune's internal culture war — and Zell himself dropped into D.C. to tell his reporters "all of you are overhead." The big Times bureau was merged two years ago with Tribune's handful of Washington reporters, with editors not connected to L.A. calling many of the shots — and many stars of the bureau departing for other pursuits. Some hope that today's move is the start of a return to the old LAT bureau, but for now at least it will still be called the Tribune bureau.
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