Al Martinez, pro and con
The forced buyout of veteran L.A. Times columnist Al Martinez set off a flurry of emails to LA Observed. Here's a sample; Mark Lacter has his own take at LA Biz Observed.
I am appalled how columnist Al Martinez has been treated. First the powers that be push him out yesterday. Then, as of tonight, they take away his company email address. I've cancelled my subscription effective immediately. The Christian Science Monitor will be getting my money from now on.
I was very proud of my time at the Times, for the most part loved working there, and got out with the first round of the Cereal Killer's buyouts on my terms.
But I haven't regretted not being there for some time now, only felt badly for harried friends still there, and this latest about Al Martinez
being shoved out the door is simply unbelievable to me.
It's a sad deal.
Deputy Managing Editor
The Tribune Corporation seems intent on making the Times a simple cow town paper.
The MBA philosophy is to cut costs to the bone, load up on debt, give themselves huge payouts, then sell to he gullible public.
Newspapers are not like a big national business that can grow by buying up other companies. There is a limited readership and a good newspaper makes a decent profit by serving those customers, just like your local gas station for instance.
I will miss Al's columns, which I have read for years. When I moved to Southern California in 1965, I started reading the Times because of Jack Smith. I have continued reading it since moving to Northern California because of Al, now the times is becoming irrelevant.
I Hope some news source will continue to give Al a column to write. What a lousy way to treat someone who has served you faithfully for all these many years.
Citrus Heights, CA
This is simply awful. It's difficult to imagine that appeals to honor and good sense would make the slightest difference to the current management, but I'm ready to join any organized effort to make the LA Times rescind this terrible decision.
Editor: You dumb shit. As a veteran of 66 years in the news-gathering business (50 with Knight-Ridder), I deem your firing of Al Martinez to be an act of lunacy. You've been cutting back on everything, making the paper a mini-tabloid of its former self, a joke played upon your readers. Now now you fire a columnist who is one of the few remaining treasures. Why not ask T.J. Simers to take a buyout and keep Martinez?
I knew the Times had become afflicted with the looneys when you relegated Martinez to the deep Calendar recesses, but I never considered the possibility you might force him to take a buyout. I wrote columns for 35 years and know a good one when I see one. Columns require a touch and Al has it. Well, you have now fired me as a subscriber. Take a flying you-know-what at a rolling doughnut.
Palm Desert, CA
Al Martinez may--or may not--be a heck of a guy when you meet him in person. I don't know, since I never have had the opportunity.
But I have had the opportunity to read his column on occasion over the years. I miss Jim Murray--and I miss Jim Healy, who certainly had recognizable, and enjoyable schticks. But Martinez seemed to become increasingly irrelevant. There's a time for everybody to step down, whether you're a pitcher who's lost his fastball, an office worker who can't adapt to new technology, a Nissan manager who didn't want to move to Tennessee, or a writer who's lost his audience. Most of them manage to do that without whimpering. Martinez couldn't.
There are many others for whom the bell should toll at the Times. I assume we'll get more e-mails ala Martinez.
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