Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Memo from David Houston

Dear Colleagues,

When I became editor of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals 17 days ago, there were many challenges that had to be met immediately. As anyone who follows this business knows, 2008 has shaped up to be journalism's annus horribilis. The most pressing of our challenges was to make changes needed to continue to put out a high-quality newspaper in spite of cutbacks. Today, I am announcing staffing changes that I believe will go along way toward meeting that goal.

The first is that Alexia Garamfalvi has agreed to officially take over as editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal. In that role, she will oversee the Daily Journal's Bay Area reporters and our Washington bureau.
Alexia has done a terrific job running the office since my departure. In fact, she has done a terrific job since she came to the paper as an associate editor 11 months ago. Those who have worked closely with her will attest to the fact that Alexia brought our law firm business coverage to a much deeper level. And her influence has extended well beyond lateral moves and profits per partner. Alexia has guided our Washington reporters in some outstanding coverage over the past several months.

Alexia graduated from McGill and UVA law school and worked as a corporate lawyer in New York for several years before going to the Medill journalism school. She was an editor and reporter at a publication focused on U.S. trade policy and at Legal Times before moving to San Francisco and the Daily Journal.

We are moving forward quickly in our search for a new associate editor in San Francisco. In the meantime,
Laura Ernde remains on hiatus from the California Supreme Court beat, filling in on that post.

In Los Angeles, associate editor Alan Mittelstaedt has decided to leave to dedicate his time to USC journalism school, where he is an adjunct professor. We owe Alan a great debt for getting our new blog, the DJ Blawter, off the ground. Please join me in wishing him well in his new endeavor.
We are moving quickly to find a new associate editor.

In these lean times, it is important for us to take stock of what we do each day. We can do some things exceptionally well but we no longer have the resources to do many things well. Therefore, I have decided to eliminate the following beats in Los Angeles: pro bono; general litigation and city politics/land use. This does not mean layoffs. Our pro bono reporter left the paper several months ago and our city reporter left last month.

Noah Barron, who has held the general litigation beat, will take over our entertainment law beat that has been open for a few months. Noah has distinguished himself as a reporter with boundless energy, someone willing to take on any task.

Greg Katz, who somehow made ADR one of the most prolific beats at the paper, is taking over as the criminal justice reporter. In that role, he will cover issues of importance to criminal lawyers throughout the state.

That's the news for now. Stay tuned.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Email from Joshua Stecker

Hi everyone,

Well, the cat's out of the bag.

Yes, the Press-Telegram has quietly ceased publication of San Pedro Magazine, and in turn, I have been laid off.

Getting laid off is never fun or easy, but what's worse than me losing my job is watching the two newspapers that serve San Pedro officially abandoning our area. First it was MORE, now San Pedro Magazine.

Well, I wasn't going to sit idly by and let my hometown lose a magazine that was hugely popular, profitable, well-respected and incredibly fun to produce.

So, in good ole' San Pedro do-it-yourself fashion, I'm launching San Pedro Today, a new independently owned and operated monthly magazine serving my hometown of San Pedro.

Premiering the week of January 5, 2009, San Pedro Today will have the same great 30,000 copy circulation (still the largest circulated publication in San Pedro), free home delivery to homes and condos, the beautiful glossy cover and include all the great columnists and contributors who helped make the former publication the success it was. I’m taking the best parts of what made San Pedro Magazine great and enhancing it with all the features I wanted to do but could never get done working for my former corporation.

Now that I independently own and operate San Pedro Today, I can finally give San Pedro the type of quality publication it has always deserved.

And talk about launching with a BANG! Our first issue will be a special commemorative issue featuring the San Pedro High School Football team celebrating their L.A. City Section (co-) Championship!

This premiere issue will feature a cover and story celebrating the exciting and historic 21-21 tie championship game between San Pedro and Narbonne High School. (I was there, it was an incredible game!) It will also include a multiple-page photo spread chronicling the entire game, including photos of fans in the stands and candid on and off-the-field celebrations.

It will definitely be a highly sought after publication when it hits the streets. I'm excited to launch the new magazine leading with such an awesome hometown event.

In addition to our regular content, we're also accepting "SPHS Football Pride" ads if anyone is interested in adding a personal ad congratulating our SPHS Pirates to our premiere issue. All the information is at

On a personal note, I want to be very clear that my parting from the Press-Telegram was an amicable one. The situation that unfolded this past week was due to the incredible hardships facing the newspaper industry as a whole. I do not envy those in charge at the Press-Telegram, they have a huge mountain to climb and have to deal with a huge corporation that has completely lost focus of what it means to produce a quality local newspaper for the community. It’s sad, really. Newspapers are dying, but magazines are alive and kicking.

To all our current (and future) advertisers, thanks for shifting your support to San Pedro Today. The transition will be painless. My former advertising representative from San Pedro Magazine, Patricia Roberts, has joined me on San Pedro Today and will be assisting you in the turnover process.

I’m also pleased to announce we’re LOWERING ADVERTISING RATES across the board for the new publication. Since we do not have to go through the corporate bureaucracy to get things done, our working experience should be much more fun and easy. We’re here to help you succeed.

Lastly, those who have worked with me and have known me through the former magazine know how much I love my hometown. I’m a fourth generation San Pedran and proud of it. When I got the news about the abrupt cancellation of San Pedro Magazine, without being able to produce one final issue to let everyone know, well... I wasn't going to let that happen. So, San Pedro Today was born.

I hope you join me on what will be one incredible adventure!


P.S. Make sure when you visit that you subscribe to our email newsletter on the top right-side column. This way you won't miss out on all the new content we'll be producing. :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Statement from Superintendent David L. Brewer

·         I’ve scheduled this press availability to set the record straight about the accomplishments of the wonderful students, employees, and parents under my leadership over the past two years.
·         Two years ago, I took the helm of the Los Angeles Unified School District with vision and optimism. You see, I firmly believe that every child can learn. Every child can succeed. Every child can do great things.  I know the power of education.  My grandparents, the grandchildren of slaves, graduated from college.  I know the power of opportunity.  As an admiral in the Navy, I saw thousands of sailors, including high school dropouts; earn college degrees while in the service and master skills that would lead to prosperous and productive futures.
·         As a leader, I came to the Los Angeles Unified School District, with many goals, chief among them - results. I walked through this door with my eyes wide open. I did so with the belief that, together, we could take this District from good to great. We have many good schools. I wanted to support them so they could become great schools.  I wanted to help our students read, write, think and speak their way into great futures.
·         As an experienced warrior, I came ready to fight the battles on behalf of all of our LAUSD students. When I think of this current battle, I think of the students who have no one to fight for them. I challenge every adult in this District and every adult in Los Angeles, to fight on behalf of our students. Fight for their right to a world-class education. Fight for a future that includes college and a career. Their success is the only thing worth fighting for.  What our students need—not what adults want—must be LAUSD’s guiding priority.
·         To the people of Los Angeles, demand that political and adult agendas take a back seat to student agendas. The winners—today, tomorrow and every day--must be our students. The most important question we must answer is how to build on their most recent successes.
·         I knew the students of the Los Angeles School District could do better, and they proved that on the 2008 Academic Performance Index.
·         LAUSD students had the highest academic gains of any other major school district in the state last year. Elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools had record gains - and not just by a point or two, but by double digits.
·         All of our ethnic groups, with one exception, exceeded the academic gains of their state counterparts.
·         I am especially proud of one our high schools.  For years, Jefferson High School had languished at the bottom in academic achievement.  In 2008, thanks to great leadership and teachers, their scores soared and went up 59 points.
·         There is much more good news at the high school level.  LAUSD has the largest class of 12th graders – 34,768 students – since 1979. That means more high school students are staying in school. More high school students are passing the high school exit exams. More high school students are graduating and going to college.
·         I am proud of these accomplishments, and so much more.
·         Our students also deserve world-class campuses.
·         In that regard, last month, thanks to the voters’ overwhelming confidence in LAUSD, we passed Measure Q - $7B - the largest school bond measure in the history of the nation, with nearly a 69% margin of voter approval.  Because of that $7 billion investment, soon more of our students will study in traditional classrooms, not portables crowding on playgrounds.  Soon, more of our students will attend schools that have state-of-the art computer centers, chemistry labs and modern cafeterias.
·         To increase the safety of our students and decrease gang violence, we opened the first-ever Boys & Girls Club on one of our campuses at Markham Middle School.  We will open a YMCA on the campus of University High School in the near future.
·         I would like to thank all who have contributed to these successes.  All of the students, all of the parents, all of the teachers, all of the principals, librarians, custodians, cafeteria workers, bus drivers—everyone who works for the Los Angeles Unified School District and every one who supports our students.
·         The current debate about my leadership and the performance of the district has been contentious.   It has been demoralizing and debilitating, not only to our valued employees, but has spilled over into the community.  As an African-American, I’ve experienced my share of discrimination.  When I joined the Navy as an officer over 37 years ago, there were only 250 African-American officers out of 72,000.   I know what it looks like, smells like, and the consequences.  Although this debate is disconcerting and troubling, it must not become an ethnic issue.  When adults fight, it can manifest itself in our children.  This must not become an ethnic or racial battle that infests our schools, our campuses, our playgrounds.  This is not about settling an old score; this must be about what is best for every LAUSD student.
·         Therefore, I have decided to do what I think is in the best interest of the children, to put all of our students first.  Although my two years of service as superintendent contain an undeniable record of significant accomplishments, I am asking the Los Angeles School Board to shield our students from this contentious debate and honor the buy-out provisions of my contract.
·         Regardless of the Board’s decision, I will continue to work for the children of LA and this nation.
·         There’s still so much work to be done.  We’re facing the worst budget crisis in since 1929; we must continue to have leadership in Sacramento.  I have been leading this fight for the past year.   This fight must continue.
* Gang violence persists.  Too many of our young boys are dying or being maimed in the streets of LA. That’s why I’ve launched a Single Gender Academy initiative, with an emphasis on boys.  Last month, I went to New York and visited two boys’ academies and one girls’ academy to benchmark and replicate in this District.   Jordan High School, King-Drew Magnet School, Audubon Middle School and Tom Bradley Elementary School have very promising single gender pilot programs.  We must continue this work to save our boys.
* One of my guiding principles in Life’s Little Instruction Book.. Let me quote: “Never deprive someone of hope, because that may be all that they have.”  Let me give you an example. Harris Rosen, CEO of Rosen Hotels, is providing hope in Tangelo Park in Orlando, Florida, where he has established a Pre-kindergarten to College program for the poorest children in that city.  He invests $1 million per year to provide educational and other services to these children and their families.  He guarantees a college education to any Tangelo Park student who is accepted to college.  Many of  the District’s children are living in similar neighborhoods with no hope.  That’s why I have solicited the support of various community leaders to work with me in bringing the Tangelo Park program to the District.  This work must continue.
* We have the best students in the nation. One of the best and most rigorous academic programs in the world is the International Baccalaureate program.  When I took the helm at LAUSD, there were 82 of these programs in California and zero in LAUSD.  We now have nine programs, but we need to do more.   LAUSD students deserve  Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs in our secondary schools.   
* My passion and commitment have not and will not diminish.
* I am proud and grateful that the Los Angeles Unified School District is better than I found it.  As a third-generation college graduate who has benefited from his education, I want the same for all the students of this district. I’m reminded of my favorite hymn: “If can help somebody as I pass along, If I can show somebody that he’s traveling wrong, if I can cheer somebody with  a word or song, then my living is not in vain.”  Live for our children.

Monday, November 17, 2008

KCRW Announces New Music Director

KCRW announces the appointment of Jason Bentley as Music Director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic, effective December 1. Bentley will leave his current evening time slot to take over KCRW’s signature music program from 9am to noon PST, Monday through Friday.

"This is a wonderful KCRW story. Jason began as a phone volunteer in the front office when he was still in high school. He grew up on KCRW because his parents were listeners. When he returned from college he reconnected with the station and debuted on the air here 16 years ago,” said KCRW General Manager Ruth Seymour. “He has a passion for the music and a deep connection to the local music scene. Moreover KCRW is in his DNA."

"I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity and humbled by the task, which is to open a new chapter for the station. It's a reinvention of myself to match the gold standards set by previous music directors. It’s no longer the hypnotic pulse of the city at night – it’s the ever-evolving optimism of weekday mornings,” said Bentley.

“My show has always reflected the continual evolution of music and emerging artists. And while I built my foundation as a champion of dance and electronic music, this is a great opportunity for me to grow, a challenge I will take very seriously."

"The other side to this position, no less important than MBE, is to work closely with the incredibly talented group of DJs we have at KCRW to inspire the best from these bright minds and celebrate the diversity of our music department. Together we will build on KCRW's stellar reputation in Los Angeles and around the world."

Bentley is widely respected, not just as a KCRW DJ but as a Music Supervisor for film (“The Matrix” soundtracks), a music executive (co-founder of the Quango Music Group and an A&R exec at Madonna's Maverick imprint) and as a music producer and remixer in his own right.

Jason has nurtured a thriving music scene in Los Angeles over the years, Producing events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Skirball Cultural Center, and The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and consults for the LA Philharmonic on special events at the Hollywood Bowl and Disney Hall. He was the headlining DJ at Uptown Underground, a hugely successful public art installation that drew more than 8,000 people to the Music Center in Downtown LA and the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

Jason has served for two consecutive terms on the Board of Governors of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and is involved in awards committees every year leading up to the Grammy's. Earlier this year, Jason became the first ever DJ for the Governor’s Ball, the celebration following the Academy Awards, and more recently, he headlined the official election night party for President elect Barack Obama in Los Angeles at the Hyatt Century Plaza to a capacity crowd.

Current Music Director Nic Harcourt will step down at the end of the month to pursue several independent projects and will continue as a KCRW DJ, hosting a 3-hour show on Sunday nights from 6-9 pm PST.

Further programming updates will be released in the next few weeks.

Monday, November 10, 2008

KCRW’s Music Director Steps Down

After 10 successful years as host of Morning Becomes Eclectic, KCRW’s signature music program, KCRW Music Director Nic Harcourt is stepping down November 30 to pursue several independent projects. Harcourt will continue as a KCRW deejay, hosting a 3-hour show on Sundays from 6-9 pm.

“I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to come to work every day and be surrounded by creative and passionate people and I want to keep the connection alive on my Sunday show,” said Harcourt.

“Since I arrived here, I’ve fulfilled many of my dreams as a music lover, meeting and interviewing legends like Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson and Cat Stevens (Yusuf). I’ve also been able to set the stage for future stars, introducing artists like Coldplay, Damien Rice, Dido and Norah Jones on KCRW’s airwaves. I’m equally proud to have played many unsigned and independent artists and to be a champion for Latin Alternative music.”

“I’ve also been involved with a number of innovative projects to bring KCRW’s unique programming to a larger audience, such as launching KCRW Presents concerts in Los Angeles and other cities, remote broadcasts of Morning Becomes Eclectic from major music events, and videocasting and podcasting our live studio sessions.”

“As a parent of two young children, I believe it’s time for me to explore new career opportunities and expand upon my other activities in movie, television, voice over work, advertising and the Internet.”

“My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to KCRW, the staff and volunteers who have supported my work through the years, but most of all to the listeners. I’ve always said that I couldn’t do what I do without them and I hope they will join me on Sunday nights,” said Harcourt.

KCRW’s General Manager Ruth Seymour
said “Nic has enhanced KCRW’s reputation for introducing new artists to listeners in Southern California and beyond on radio and the Internet. His singular gifts as a radio deejay and his ability to spot new talent attracted major media attention from both national and international press."

“He made performing on MBE an opportunity to be heard by top entertainment executives. In quite a number of instances it led to record contracts, television appearances and club dates.”

“We’re delighted that Nic will continue a station tradition and remain on the air at KCRW. He follows our two previous Music Directors, Tom Schnabel and Chris Douridas, who also host music programs on the weekends.”

“Nic is a hard act to follow”, added Seymour. “We are now in the process of choosing a new Music Director. We have been looking at potential candidates with an eye toward announcing a choice in the new few weeks."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bray responds to LA Impact (UPDATED*)

Christy L. O'Donnell

Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, LLP

801 South Figueroa St., 15th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dear Ms. O'Donnell:

On September 8, 2008, I sent a request for documents to your client, L.A. Impact. You responded for the first time on October 14, 2008. Your response so far has been legally inadequate and grossly unprofessional. Your client has been poorly served by your performance.

First, I requested public documents from your client, a public agency. State law gives public agencies ten days to respond to such requests. L.A. Impact received my request -- my second request, by the way -- on September 9, 2008 (see enclosed photocopy of U.S. Postal Service "Domestic Return Receipt," labeled as Document 1). Your letter of October 14 begins, "This letter will confirm our receipt of your correspondence, dated September 8, 2008..." (see enclosed photocopy of your October 14 letter, labeled as Document 2). No explanation for your delayed response follows. Should I wish to argue that L.A. Impact does not comply with the terms of the California Public Records Act, your own letter serves as the plainest evidence of that fact. It took you five weeks to send a short initial response to a one-page letter. I hope this is not the standard at your firm.

Second, pursuant to the Ralph M. Brown Act, I asked to receive agendas for public meetings of the L.A. Impact directors. You mailed to me an agenda for the October 16, 2008 meeting of the L.A. Impact Executive Council (enclosed, labeled as Document 3), with a demand (see your letter, Document 2) that I pay a $2.50 fee to L.A. Impact to cover the cost of mailing. As this agenda shows, the meeting in question began on October 16, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. But you mailed the agenda to me on October 15, 2008, as the metered postage on your envelope shows (see enclosed photocopy of Manning & Marder envelope, labeled as Document 4). An agenda mailed October 15 for a meeting on the morning of October 16 is useless, a fact I shouldn't need to explain even to you. In fact, I received the agenda after the meeting was over. Perhaps five weeks is just how long it takes you to get a two-page document in the mail, but you and your client are not complying with the Brown Act by sending an agenda for a meeting that is already over when the agenda arrives. Obviously, I will not be paying your client for this agenda. Future agendas are to reach me prior to the meetings described by those agendas.

Third, on Wednesday, October 15, 2008, we exchanged email in which I asked for an appointment this week to review public records at your client's office. You responded at 9:36 a.m. on that day that you would contact your client and arrange such an appointment for me. It is now 8:45 a.m. on Monday, October 20, and I have not heard from you. You had most of the day Wednesday, and all of Thursday and Friday, to arrange an appointment at a public agency to review simple public records that should be easily available. I am requesting an opportunity to review the recent agendas and minutes of a local legislative body, a set of records that any City Clerk in the state would instantly provide to me over the counter without an appointment. This is not hard.

I am not impressed by you. Do your job.


Chris Bray

*UPDATED: Here is the key paragraph in O'Donnell's letter to Bray, dated Oct. 23, that responds to the letter above:

As for your allegation that the appointment is untimely, there is no specific time requirement within the Brown Act, the above appointment is reasonable, and thus there is no violation. Although no explanation is required, you allege that you should immediately have been given an appointment within a secure LA IMPACT building solely because "a set of records that any City Clerk in the state would instantly provide to [you] over the counter without an appointment. This is not hard." As I explained in my October 14, 2008 correspondence, LA IMPACT Headquarters is a secure law enforcement building with restricted access to civilians. Further, the LA IMPACT taskforce is not a municipality or state agency, but rather a crime task force whose priorities are to assist law enforcement agencies in immediate and exigent crime suppression. As such, the above date and time is more than reasonable, given the nature of LA IMPACT. No Brown Act violation exists.

She's right, LA Impact is neither a city nor a state agency. But neither are a county or a school district, and yet both are bound by the Brown Act. (State agencies, funnily enough, are governed by a different open-meetings law.) Moreover, every one of these agencies, LA Impact included, is subject to the California Public Records Act. That means LA Impact's agendas and documents must be open to inspection at all times during business hours (6253(a)). Failure to comply is a violation of California law.

Friday, October 17, 2008

'Anonymous' hacker to plead guilty


LOS ANGELES – A New Jersey man was charged today for his role in an attack on Church of Scientology websites in January 2008 that rendered the websites unavailable.

Dmitriy Guzner, 18, of Verona, New Jersey, has agreed to plead guilty to computer hacking for his role in the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack against the Scientology websites. A DDOS attack occurs where a large amount of malicious Internet traffic is directed at a website or a set of websites. The target websites are unable to handle the high volume of Internet traffic and therefore become unavailable to legitimate users trying to reach the sites.

According to the criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Guzner participated in the attack because he considered himself a member of an underground group called “Anonymous.” “Anonymous” has led protests against the Church of Scientology at various locations across the country, and in January 2008 posted a video on YouTube which announced a new offensive against Scientology.

Once he pleads guilty, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks in federal court in New Jersey, Guzner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force in Los Angeles. The agencies involved in the investigation were the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bray and LA Impact

September 8, 2008
Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force ("LA Impact")
5700 S. Eastern Ave.
Commerce, CA 90040

Sir or Ma’am:

I would like to receive agendas and minutes for the meetings of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors. Please add me to your Brown Act notice list. This is my second request, following my letter of July 14 of this year. Perhaps your response to my earlier request was misdirected, but it has not reached me.

Also, I want to be able to review the agendas and minutes of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors at the sites where they are regularly posted. Please provide me with a list of those sites.

Finally, I plan to review minutes for previous meetings of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors. Please identify the custodian of those records, and let me know how and where I may review them.

Thank You

Chris Bray

Cc: Richard McKee

Richard M. Kreisler, Liebert Cassidy Whitmore


Dear Mr. Bray:

This letter being sent to you via email as a courtesy and U.S. Mail will confirm our receipt of your correspondence, dated September 8, 2008, in which you requested the following items:

1) "[T]o receive agendas and minutes for the meetings of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors", and accordingly to be added "to your Brown Act notice list."

2) "[T]o be able to review the agendas and minutes of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors at the sites where they are regularly posted", and accordingly to be provided "with a list of those sites."

3) "[T]o review minutes for previous meetings of the L.A. Impact Board of Directors", and accordingly to know the identity of "the custodian of records" and "how and where I may review them."

Here is our response to each of your above requests:

1) A copy of the upcoming Agenda for the October 16, 2008 LA Impact Board of Director's meeting has been mailed to you. Pursuant to Government Code section 54954.1 LA Impact has established a fee of $2.50 for mailing the agenda. Please forward payment for this mailing immediately to our Los Angeles office upon your receipt. Please be advised that in the future, we will require payment of this fee in advance of mailing you the agenda.

As for your request for a copy of the minutes to be sent to you, there is no such requirement within the Brown Act and thus we cannot comply with your request. Please see our response to your request No. 3, as you may view the minutes at the site at which they are normally maintained.

As for your request to be added "to your Brown Act notice list", there is no requirement of the same within the Brown Act and thus we cannot comply with your request.

2) The agenda for the next LA Impact Board of Director's meeting is posted at 12545 Florence Avenue, Santa Fe Springs, CA. Therefore, you may view the agenda at that location up to 72 hours before the regularly scheduled meeting.

As for your request regarding where the minutes are "posted", there is no such requirement within the Brown Act and thus we cannot comply with your request. Please see our response to your request No. 3, as you may view the minutes at the site at which they are normally maintained.

3) The minutes are maintained by LA Impact at their headquarters in Commerce. You will only be allowed access to view the minutes from "Open Sessions" of the Board, as closed sessions do not constitute public records. Should you still desire to view the minutes from prior Open Session, please provide me with a few alternate dates and times you are available to view the minutes so that we can make arrangements for you to do so, as LA Impact is a secure building and we will need to arrange for you to have access. In addition, please be advised that should you desire to photocopy any of the minutes, you will be asked to pay in advance a rate of $ .35 per/copy.

Should you have any additional requests or inquiries, please direct them to me as counsel for LA Impact.

Christy L. O'Donnell, Esq.
Manning & Marder, Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, LLP
15th Floor at 801 Tower
801 S. Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 624-6900
(213) 624-6900 fax


Dear Ms. O'Donnell,

Thanks for your prompt reply to my request. I had hoped that LA Impact minutes and agendas were created and stored as Word files, or something similar, and could be emailed as attachments with very little cost or hassle to your client. But I would be happy to spend time in the LA Impact office instead, even if it is a substantial time commitment for us all. If I'll be required to travel to the office to read minutes every time there's a meeting of the Board of Directors, perhaps we can come up with a regular appointment time for those frequent visits. In the meantime, I'd like to schedule any morning next week after nine a.m. to review the requested minutes. I plan to read them carefully and methodically, so I may need to visit the LA Impact office quite a few times in the coming days.

Thank you for your kind assistance.

Chris Bray

Diane Fedele's infamous flier

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NTSB press release




National Transportation Safety Board

Washington, DC 20594

October 1, 2008





The following is an update of the NTSB's investigation of the September 12, 2008 accident in Chatsworth, California involving a Metrolink commuter train and a Union Pacific freight train. As a result of the head-on collision, there were 25 fatalities and numerous injuries.

Information regarding the Metrolink engineer's cell phone activity on the day of the accident was obtained from his service provider under subpoena from the NTSB. As part of the ongoing investigation, this information is being used to determine the timing of cell phone activity, which includes text messaging to and from the engineer's cell number, in relation to the engineer's duty hours and train operations.

Although the precise timing and correlation of these events is still underway at the Safety Board's Recorder Laboratory, preliminary information is being released regarding the approximate cell phone activity during the engineer's duty hours on the day of the accident.

On the day of the accident, the Metrolink engineer was on duty for two periods of time. The engineer was responsible for the operation of a train from 6:44 am until 8:53 am.

During this period of time, the engineer's cell phone received 21 text messages and sent 24 text messages.

He was then off duty until 2:00 pm. The engineer was responsible for the operation of Metrolink train 111 from 3:03 pm until the time of the accident. During this time period, the engineer's cell phone received 7 text messages and sent 5 text messages. According to the time on the cell phone provider's records, the last text message received by the engineer's phone before the accident was at 4:21:03 pm, and the last text message sent from the engineer's cell phone was 4:22:01 pm.

A preliminary estimate for the time of the accident, according to the Union Pacific train's onboard recorders, is 4:22:23 pm. The Safety Board's Recorder Laboratory is continuing to correlate times recorded for use of the Metrolink engineer's cell phone, train recorder data, and signal system data to a common time base.

"I am pleased with the progress of this major investigation to date," Acting NTSB Chairman Mark V. Rosenker said today. "We are continuing to pursue many avenues of inquiry to find what caused this accident and what can be done to prevent such a tragedy in the future."


NTSB Media Contact: Terry N. Williams

(202) 314-6100

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BANG-EB publisher steps down

Dear Employees:

We’re announcing a leadership change for our East Bay newspapers. After many years of dedicated service, John Armstrong will be leaving the company effective October 17. We’re very appreciative of the effort that John has put forth during his role as Publisher, and earlier as Editor, and wish him good fortune for the future.

David Rounds, San Jose Mercury News Vice President of Circulation, will replace Armstrong as the new President and Publisher of our East Bay newspapers. David is a career newspaper professional with more than 35 years’ experience in newspaper advertising, circulation and operations. The first half of his career focused on advertising and included work at the Independent in Livermore, ANG newspapers in Pleasanton, Hayward and Fremont, where he held numerous management positions in retail and classified advertising. In 1989, he joined Lesher Communications in the East Bay working at the Valley Times, West County Times, Antioch Ledger and the Contra Costa Times in various positions including advertising manager, general manager, group Vice President, and Vice President of Circulation. David has served as Vice President of Circulation for the Mercury News since January 2005.

Dan Smith, East Bay Circulation Vice President, has been named Vice President of Circulation for the Bay Area Newspaper Group. He will now oversee all circulation efforts for the San Jose and East Bay consolidated operations. We are enthusiastic and optimistic regarding the opportunities associated with one coordinated, strategic effort to generate increased circulation sales and improve our customer retention for the BANG papers. Dan worked for the Mercury News from 1982 through 1995. He is very familiar with the market and has the benefit of having worked with a majority of the South Bay circulation team.

Michael Turpin, San Jose Advertising/Marketing Vice President, has been named Vice President of Advertising/Marketing for the Bay Area Newspaper Group. Michael will oversee all advertising and marketing efforts for the San Jose and East Bay Consolidated operations. We’re equally optimistic that a coordinated strategic effort in advertising and marketing for the BANG operations will be more effective and efficient in reaching and satisfying our advertising customers. Mike Jung, East Bay Vice President of Advertising, will report jointly to Michael Turpin and David Rounds.

Michael joined the Mercury News in 1999 as major accounts manager and later assumed the key accounts group in 2002. In 2005, Michael assumed responsibilities for all of retail advertising including overseeing the assembly of a single major accounts sales team after the MediaNews purchase of The Mercury News and Contra Costa Times. In 2007, Michael became the Vice President of Advertising for The Mercury News and earlier this year assumed responsibility for national advertising, marketing and the publishing of the Milpitas Post, Silicon Valley Community Newspapers and the Daily News Group.

While this is a challenging time in the newspaper industry, I remain convinced that we will not only survive but also thrive in the coming years. We do face immediate hardships associated with the “sea change” that is occurring in the newspaper industry coupled with a stressed economic environment. That said, the economy will eventually stabilize and newspapers will successfully navigate their way through this difficult environment.

Newspapers remain the dominate provider of local news and advertising content. It is our core competency that no other media can match. Local news and information will always be important as people want to know what is happening with the schools their children attend, the safety of their neighborhoods, the roads they drive on, the taxes that the pay, etc. So, we have a core competency that no one else really has and that people really want – the only thing that is changing is how some people want to receive that information. How we adapt our business model to best fulfill the desires of our customers is the question we must answer – and we find the answer.

The aggregate reach of our print and online customers is increasing. We reach more people today than we have in the past – we’re a growing media. Not too many of our competitors can make that claim. I’m confident that newspapers will successfully find our way through these challenging times.

Thank you for everything you have done to make our newspapers better and to get through our current challenges. Please join with me in wishing good luck and best wishes to John, David, Dan and Michael.

Mac Tully

Tuesday, September 16, 2008



LOS ANGELES, Sept. 16, 2008 -- Today current and former employees of the Los Angeles Times and the Tribune Company filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court against Sam Zell, a Chicago billionaire real-estate speculator who in December 2007 took control of the Tribune Company in a controversial deal that has mired the company in more than $13 billion of debt. The lawsuit was filed by Joseph Cotchett and Philip Gregory of the law firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

As current and former members of the Employee Stock Option Plan that owns 100% of the Tribune Company and participants in various Tribune retirement plans, the plaintiffs filed this action alleging it is time to call the Zell-orchestrated acquisition what it really is: A scam. The lawsuit contends that, since the inception of the deal, it appears that Zell and his accessories have planned to enrich themselves, tax-free, by perverting laws passed by Congress intended to benefit rank and file American workers. The employee-owners of Tribune Company have everything, including their retirement plans, at great risk and little to gain in this deal, while Zell has everything to gain and little at risk. Among the deal's outrages outlined in the complaint: Zell has set up a mechanism to buy 40% of the company – valued at more than $8 billion at the time the ESOP took ownership – for as little as $500 million. It’s a classic grift, played out under the cover of legal technicalities. The real losers in this deal, however, are Americans who rely on news and information collected and disseminated by the respected Tribune news organizations.

The plaintiff-employees in this suit do not seek to enrich themselves. Rather, their announced intentions are: to protect Tribune Company’s pension and retirement funds; to give the employee-owners a place at the table with regard to management of their assets; and to remove Zell and his cronies from the Tribune Company’s board in order to save what is left of a still great news gathering operation.

In the 1970s and later in the 1980s when Senators Bob Dole (R-Kansas), Russell Long (D-Louisiana) and others in Congress spearheaded efforts to promote ESOPs with generous tax benefits, the intent was to empower employees eager to own and manage the companies where they work. When it comes to Tribune Company’s ESOP, nothing could be further from the truth. Employees were never asked if they wanted to own Tribune Company. They had no opportunity to question the wisdom of saddling a media company with $13 billion in debt at a time when the industry faces serious challenges. Even though they are nominally the owners, they have no voice on the company’s board and no say in its management.

When Zell hung “You own this place now” banners at the Los Angeles Times, employees could not know the high price they would pay for this “privilege.” According to the complaint, Zell has de-funded employees retirement packages, raided the employee pension fund for more than $400 million, and eliminated more than a thousand Tribune Co. jobs. Meanwhile, Zell and his band of publishing rookies are wrecking the company’s marquee properties – including the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun, and the Chicago Tribune – alienating readers by launching aimless redesigns while dramatically cutting coverage. Seemingly ignorant of journalistic ethics, they have, for instance, turned control of the Los Angeles Times Magazine over to the advertising staff, with no indication to the reader that this product is now a “pay-to-play” advertorial. All the while, revenues have continued to decline.

The saga of the Los Angeles Times follows a familiar path in American media. Los AngelesChandler family controlled the newspaper for generations, making it the flagship of the powerful Times-Mirror Company. In 2000, the Chandler heirs merged the family-controlled company with the Chicago-based Tribune Company. Even considering the debt to finance the merger, the company maintained profit margins in excess of 20%.

Despite a slowing economy, a precipitous drop in ad revenue in the real estate, classified, and automotive sectors along with the de-monetizing of content put on the web and the spiraling cost of newsprint – the Tribune Company continued to be profitable throughout this decade. Without the staggering debt load from the Zell deal, the Los Angeles Times would be solidly profitable today – without eviscerating news gathering operations.

It is flat wrong to regard the Tribune Company's troubles as the death throes of the newspaper industry. Americans are not rejecting the industry’s editorial product. The Los Angeles Times has millions more readers than it did a few years ago – over 20 million discrete readers at in August 2008. In that month alone, the paper chalked up more than 120 million page views. Its besieged editorial staff continues to produce some of America’s finest journalism.

The media landscape is changing and, yes, newspapers are just learning how to navigate this new world. Unfortunately, current management is making things worse, led by Zell and his Chicago gang who can't shoot straight. Zell does not consider himself a publisher and has shown nothing but contempt for journalism. He notoriously said “F… you” to an employee-photographer who dared question his leadership. Speaking to the Washington bureau of the Los Angeles Times, Zell referred to the staff as “overhead, not producing any revenue.” Zell’s history is specializing in profiting from the purchase and sale of distressed properties. He has said he expects to make a fortune for himself during his tenure at the Tribune Company. And, as it stands, he can do that while leaving the coffers of the Tribune ESOP empty and the readers of the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and Tribune Company’s other news outlets without an authoritative local source for news and information.

Should these institutions, vitally important to the life of the nation – indeed, never more so – be allowed to fall victim to ruthless corporate raiding and the pump-and-dump machinations of predatory “investors”? News organizations are both businesses and public trusts. A free press is the only business stipulated by the Constitution. No other entity – no website, no blogger – is on the horizon to replace the boots on the ground around the world providing Americans with the information we need to function in a global economy. The Los Angeles Times, alone, spends $2 million a month to support its Baghdad bureau, making its war coverage among the finest in the world. If Zell and his cronies continue to cut the staffs of these news organizations, it means inevitably that they will give their readers less content that is valuable to them. As these newspapers become less valuable to readers, they become less valuable to advertisers as well.

To that point, Zell and his cronies say they plan to close the Los Angeles TimesBaghdad bureau.

-- Dan Neil, Corie Brown, Henry Weinstein, Walter Roche, Myron Levin & Jack Nelson

For more information contact:

Attorney for the Plaintiffs Plaintiffs’ spokesman

Joseph W. Cotchett Dan Neil

Philip L. Gregory (818) 508-1000

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy

San Francisco Airport Office Center

840 Malcolm Road, Suite 200

Burlingame, CA 94010

(650) 697-6000

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008 4:00 P.M. CDT


DALLAS – A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC) said today that the voluntary severance offer (VSO) extended to the Company’s newspaper employees in July has been completed. Overall, 413 employees will leave the company under the VSO – 270 at The Dallas Morning News, 23 at The Providence Journal, and 120 at The Press-Enterprise. The total cost of the VSO is approximately $11.2 million, the majority of which will be expensed in the third quarter.

In addition, an involuntary reduction in force will be completed by mid-to-late October to achieve the necessary remaining workforce reductions. The expense related to the reduction in force is estimated at $2.4 million and will be recorded in the fourth quarter. The reduction in force is limited to the news, production, customer retention call center, and Al Día departments at The Dallas Morning News; the news, consumer sales, packaging and production departments (excluding pressroom) at The Press-Enterprise; and, the news, editorial, advertising and promotion departments, subject to contractual obligations, at The Providence Journal.

The combined workforce reductions are expected to result in a savings of more than $29 million on an annualized basis.

Robert W. Decherd, chairman, president and Chief Executive Officer, said, “These job actions are part of a restructuring of our newspaper operations that accelerates the allocation of resources to promising new print and online products while focusing our workforce on A. H. Belo’s local content creation and sales capabilities. We greatly appreciate the dedication and service of all A. H. Belo employees who are leaving the Company under the voluntary severance program. I’m confident that we’re taking the right steps to realign our resources to meet consumer and advertiser needs while maintaining the exceptional quality of A. H. Belo’s journalistic products.”

A copy of the letter sent to operating company employees today by Jim Moroney, executive vice president of A. H. Belo and Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of The Dallas Morning News is available at

Thursday, August 14, 2008

August 14, 2008

To: All Employees of the Desert Sun

From: Rich Ramhoff

Re: Company expense reductions

I’m writing to let all of you know about some coming expense reductions that will affect The Desert Sun and Gannett’s entire U.S. Community Publishing Division. The extent of these reductions is such that you may be hearing from other colleagues across the division, and I wanted to make sure you had accurate information.

As you know from reading our headlines, the real estate economy in California and across the U.S. is in a significant downturn. Gas prices are up; vehicle sales are down. Unemployment is on the rise. Those three sectors – real estate, auto and recruitment – make up a very large portion of our business. That has severely hurt our revenues in Palm Springs and the division as a whole.

To respond to the decline, Community Publishing has given every newspaper a significant payroll reduction target. In total for the division, it will amount to about 1,000 positions, of which 600 will be actual layoffs across Gannett. In Palm Springs, we have been able to make up almost all of our reduction through attrition and holding positions open. However, we will have to eliminate three current full-time positions. I realize that announcing layoffs before we have a final decision about the actual people involved is difficult. Division is reviewing all newspaper plans, and will provide final approval before Aug. 21. Each person will receive one week of pay for every year of service (minimum two weeks) and medical benefits will continue during that time.

I regret that I have to send this information while I am away from the office. I am moving my family to the valley this weekend. I will be back in the office Monday afternoon and will be available to answer questions then. Until I get back, please talk with your department heads if you have any questions.

These are tough times, but let me emphasize a point: We are going to remain the strongest local information source in the Coachella Valley. That means we still will hire people to cover news, sell advertising and support the people who do that. It also means we may need to decide to stop doing less important things in order to do the most important things. We will rebound as the Valley economy rebounds. With our strong newspaper, our Web site and our non-daily publications we reach more than three-quarters of the adults in our market over the course of a week. That is a business with a future. Don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 28, 2008

To: All Employees

From: Ron Redfern

Dear Colleagues,

Today, as you know, our chairman, Robert Decherd, announced a number of initiatives that A. H. Belo Corporation is undertaking in response to the current adverse business environment that the newspaper industry is struggling with in this fast-changing media environment.

At our recent town hall meetings in June we shared with you the challenges that the current economic climate continues to have on our business here in the Inland region of Southern California. Because of our dependence on housing and construction, we have been hit worse than most newspapers across the country. However, our sister newspapers, The Dallas Morning News and The Providence Journal, are experiencing similar performance struggles as a result of this downturn.

Thanks to your efforts over the past 18 months we have been successful in making significant improvements to our business operations that have reduced expenses without compromising the quality of our products. However, as we noted in our town hall sessions, these improvements have not outpaced the declines we continue to experience in classified ad revenues nor the significant increases in newsprint prices. Unfortunately, the outlook for the foreseeable future over the next 12 to 18 months continues to remain bleak for our business, particularly on the revenue front.

Consequently, as Jim Moroney announced today, the Corporation, and thus our Company, must continue to look for ways to reduce overall expenses. One of the steps announced directly affects all of us as fellow employees here at the Press-Enterprise Company. The Corporation is making a voluntary severance offer to many of the employees in A. H. Belo’s Companies. As noted in the communications you received today, this voluntary program will provide enhanced severance benefits as well as outplacement services and a COBRA opportunity for eligible employees who elect to accept it and whose acceptance is confirmed by our Company.

This offer is being made to a large number of employees possible across the Company. It is our hope that this offer will encourage a substantial voluntary workforce reduction within the Company. Should that not occur, the Company will need to implement an involuntary reduction in force with a lesser severance package than the voluntary severance offer. However, if more eligible employees accept the offer than business conditions allow, the actual number of eligible employees allowed to participate in the voluntary severance program will be determined on a first come, first served basis.

In addition to the initiatives that are being announced at the corporate level, we find it is necessary for the Company to undertake additional actions locally to further reduce expenses here as well. As was mentioned at our June meetings, we have been evaluating a number of options to do this. Over the next three months we will be implementing several of them, a few of which are noted below:

· We will be implementing action plans to further conserve newsprint and reduce distribution and circulation expenses. These will include reducing our current web width from 48” to 46,” cutting back circulation in the Desert, and moving NIE from print to solely an online service. These initiatives and others will provide significant cost savings.

· On the news and content side for print and online we will be reducing syndicate and wire services, consolidating business content resources, and continuing to rethink entertainment content as well as structural changes in news and online we might make to reduce expenses and maintain optimum focus on local news coverage.

· We will be making changes in page layout and ad production, and realigning our production workflow to extend ad deadlines to reduce expenses and provide more selling time to capture additional revenue on a daily basis. And we will be looking at outsourcing more functions.

Unfortunately, the circumstances in which we are operating require the Company to make these very difficult decisions to reduce our workforce and expenses. We are sensitive to the impact our decisions will have on some of our fellow employees; however, we can’t be na├»ve and sugarcoat our current business situation. Our ultimate responsibility is to ensure we remain financially viable so we can sustain this business, preserve our civic mission and continue to publish this newspaper and the many other products in our portfolio now, and those that will be created in the future.

There are some who say our industry is facing its demise, but tell that to the 124 million people in this country who still read a newspaper or use our websites. For 130 years, The Press-Enterprise has weathered economic downturns and still we continue to deliver the best local news in our region, in more ways than ever, to a market of over 4 million people and growing.

While we’re struggling from a financial standpoint, it is important to remember that the fundamentals of our media franchise in this Inland region are exceptionally strong. Our audience has grown 33% from last year to 1.2 million people. Our products reach 65% of the total adults in the region. The readership of our core newspaper product is up 6% year-over-year; in fact, ours is the only one of the top five circulation newspapers in the L.A. DMA to show readership growth this year. Overall penetration for our newspaper remains in excess of 30%, second highest in all of Southern California. The number of local retail businesses advertising with us has increased 8% over last year. And the recent outpouring of positive support for our Local Plus section demonstrates that our strategy to be the preeminent local/local news provider in the region is working.

The Press-Enterprise continues to maintain a stable and growing audience and advertiser base. Add to that a diverse local economy and the expected future population growth of 13% in our region over the next five years, and our Company is positioned for future success, in spite of the challenges we’re working through now.

Starting today and continuing through August 8, 2008 vice presidents, directors and managers will be having department meetings with employees to discuss the voluntary severance offer. At that time eligible employees will be provided with individual letters regarding the voluntary severance offer. The letter will include the specific dollar amount of the severance and the COBRA opportunity for each employee eligible.

On behalf of senior management of the company, I want to thank each and every one of you for your steadfast commitment and contribution to The Press-Enterprise at this time of significant challenge.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Transcript of Sam and Randy Interview

Operator: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Tribune Conference Call. My name is Katie and I’ll be your coordinator for today. At this time, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question and session towards the end of this conference call.


I would like now to turn the call over to your host for today, Mr. Gary Weitman, Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations. Please proceed.

Gary Weitman: Okay, thank you Katie, and thanks everybody for being on the call today. As you know, we're going to make Sam and Randy available for questions. It was important to us to be talking to our own media outlets first. We've gotten a number of media requests and Sam and Randy both wanted to make sure we were taking care of our own folks first.

So with that, we're going to open it up for questions, and we'll take the first question from Tim Darragh at The Morning Call. Tim?

Tim Darragh: Yes, thank you for taking my call. I'd first like to ask about the decision to cut the newsroom here at The Morning Call by 25%, which is a severer cut at any newspaper in Tribune and larger than most of the other newspapers. Even though the newsroom here has been doing its job, as you know our readership day-to-day increased by over 7% in the past year. So given that, I'd like to know why The Morning Call was asked to cut its newsroom by almost 25%?

Sam Zell: This is Sam Zell. First of all, although circulation numbers are interesting and obviously very relevant, revenue numbers are what pays our bills. And the steps that we've taken, and are taking across the country, are a downsizing of our organization to more closely reflect the revenue trends that are relevant.

It is very clear, and we certainly accept the fact, that the role of the newspaper is changing. And we need to size our organizations and our newspapers to reflect the realities of the marketplace and that's what we're doing. I don't think anybody picked The Morning Call specifically, but we went through everyone of our organizations with the goal of bringing our efficiency levels up and our headcount down, so that we can survive to live another day.

These are very, very difficult and challenging times and we are doing our best to make, what we believe are the appropriate decisions for the future.

Gary Weitman: Tim, did you have a follow up?

Tim Darragh: Well, yes. I mentioned readership not circulation, because we've been told that readership is more of the key number than circulation, and the readership is up 7%. In addition -- and at the newsroom function. In addition --.

Sam Zell: I'm not challenging that, I'm just telling you that when it's all said and done, we've got to have enough money coming in the door to turn on the lights and print the newspaper on a daily basis. And those are the kind of decisions we made. It's not a criticism of The Morning Call. It's an adjustment of The Morning Call size to the reality of the market place going forward.

Randy Michaels: Tim, I would second the motion that The Morning Call's a great paper and the newsroom's doing a great job. And it is not something that we enjoy. It's not something that we intended to do. However, the revenue is down much more, not just for us but for everybody, than anyone anticipated.

And look, this is not without precedent. I just read that in 1929 after The Crash, the Colonel cut the Chicago's Tribune size, closed a lot of the foreign bureaus and cut the number of reporters in Chicago down to 83 in order to stay alive through the Depression. So this is hardly unprecedented, it's not the first time. But we're seeing revenue declines that start to approach those levels. And I think we're going to come nowhere near those kind of draconian cuts that had been made before to keep these papers alive.

It's really unfortunate. And it's no reflection of the -- on the quality of the work the newsroom is doing.

Gary Weitman: And with that, we're going to move to the next questioner, Chris Flores at the Daily Press. Chris are you on, and do you have a question?

Chris Flores: Thank you. Yes, I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about the idea of more Tribune newspapers going to an all-local front and increasingly sharing centrally designed pages for nation and world news as CCI evolves?

Randy Michaels: Well, I think all local it certainly would -- if you're talking about all news of local interest, I think that's the direction most of our papers are going. That doesn't mean that the news necessarily has to happen in our immediate geography.

In other words, for the Daily Press, the troop movement in Iraq, if it involves a lot of people who are from, say Newport News, who may be very quote "local." But I think that we do have opportunity to centralize some of our world and national news gathering reporting and writing. I don't see the reason to write every story eight and nine times.

But each of our papers will thrive to the extent that it's a reflection of its local community and its local community's interests. I don't mean for that to be all local news. In other words, news of interest to the local community wherever it occurs, I think is a cornerstone of how we're going to keep our papers relevant.

Chris Flores: I think -- I was thinking more in terms of the role of the copy desk plays in terms of putting together nation and world news and some of the experiments that have been going on between the Daily Press and some other papers. You know, looking to centralize that function of putting a lot of that together and sharing --.

Randy Michaels: As you know, we have been experimenting and how far we go will depend on the results of those experiments. But I would tell you that I would expect we'll be going live reasonably soon with some of those techniques. And I'm optimistic that we can -- that it's one way we can put out a better paper at lower cost.

Chris Flores: And under this system, how would you deal with the different nation and world preferences that each region might have? And that's one thing we've seen between some of -- in our experiments that we have different preferences. We're very military, you know whereas somewhere in Florida they may have other preferences down there. How do you deal with that as you share more and more nation and world content?

Randy Michaels: Well, I think sharing doesn't equal homogenization and it doesn't equal one size fits all. If, for instance, there is a military story, you should be able to pull it down in Newport News if you think it's relevant. And maybe you have to edit it, maybe because there is a local angle. But, I don't think we need to start from scratch in each of our markets with every story.

And in some cases, the story that runs in Allentown and Newport News may very well be the same story with the same picture and require no re-editing. As much as we can centralize those functions and make it possible for you to pull down something that is appropriate, or close to appropriate for your market, the better. That doesn't mean the stories in your paper should be the same as the stories in the Baltimore paper.

Gary Weitman: Chris, we're going to have to move on to the next person in line.

Chris Flores: Thank you.

Gary Weitman: Sure. Doreen Hemlock at the Sun-Sentinel, are you on the line? Operator you can open that line.

Doreen Hemlock: Hi, my question is about cutting back certain kinds of offerings and what that does in terms of turning off readers. For example, recently we've eliminated the stock listings in the business page and we've had a lot of older readers here in South Florida, who have said they are no longer going to subscribe to the paper.

How do you cut back certain offerings, whether it's international or stock listings and so on, and still expect to keep the readership and circulation growing? How does it not become a self-fulfilling prophecy of declining readership?

Sam Zell: I think the answer, in a broad sense is that, one of the issues that we're dealing with on a daily basis is attempting to find out what kind of a newspaper and what does it look like in the future? We know that the services and the level of interface that the previous newspapers provided is unsustainable at revenue levels, and has been unsustainable for some years now. And so, our objective is to basically to keep trying to find solutions to what works, what generates appropriate revenue, that gives us the ability to continue and to, in effect, deliver our message.

The answer is we're the first ones to tell you we're going to try everything until we find what the best niche is. Some of those things will lose us readers. Hopefully a lot of them will gain us readers, and it's the ultimate balance that's what we're after.

Randy Michaels: Doreen, look, I'm aware that a lot of papers have taken out stock listings without much impact, because frankly most people aren't getting their stock quotes in the paper. I'm aware of the noise level and I know there's been a discussion. Maybe we'll put it back.

We're not going to -- we don't have all the answers. There's no book. And so, if it turns out the noise level is high enough -- I know that when we redesigned the Orlando Sentinel, we had fewer than 500 complaints. But more than 10% of it were about the elimination of a certain column. What was it called, Sound Off or --.

Sam Zell: Ticked Off.

Randy Michaels: Ticked Off. And so we put it back. And if it turns out there's enough noise about the stocks, we'll put them back too.

Doreen Hemlock: Okay. And just one other thing. How do you monetize the net? I mean, in our case, I know that we're down more than $50 million in ad revenues, and on the net we only have something like $20 million, it doesn't compensate at all, so how do you monetize that, if people are going -- what are the efforts in that regard?

Sam Zell: I guess it starts with producing a net product that is not just a regurgitation of a newspaper. And, when you think about the fact that only 30% or 40% of net revenue comes from advertising, and the remaining 60% comes from transactions, it's pretty obvious that we have to become much more net savvy and take advantage of what the net provides us. The future of our revenue base has to include significant net contribution and we would expect that to be the case going forward.

Doreen Hemlock: Are there any specifics on how to do that though?

Sam Zell: I'm sorry.

Doreen Hemlock: Are there any specifics on how to do that, whether it's --?

Sam Zell: Well, I think you've got to watch and see. I mean, we're just rolling out our first net product in St. Louis and it's in test. And once that gets carried out across the country, I think you'll see a much more aggressive net program from us than what has been the case in the past.

Randy Michaels: So you do it with search, with referrals, with taxonomy and not just display ads and all those things are coming.

Doreen Hemlock: Thank you very much.

Gary Weitman: Doreen, we've got to keep moving. Michael Hiltzik is your line open? And we're up to you if you want to ask a question -- at the L.A. Times? Michael?

Michael Hiltzik: All right. Randy, you came out to LA a few months ago, and you spoke quite energetically about how you were going to incentivize the sales force to sell across all lines -- all media lines and do other things to raise the top line of the enterprise. And thus far, we've seen a lot of efforts that go to cutting costs and selling assets at Tribune, but the effort to grow the top line by getting more out of sales, it seems [to absolved].

Or at least we haven't seen as much in terms of that. Obviously, we talked about that there hasn't even been an [answer] back here at the Times for many months. Can you tell us what progress you've made, or what we're going to be seeing in the future in terms of revenue building efforts?

Randy Michaels: Yes, sure Michael. I'm sorry that we're not communicating well because actually in Los Angeles, there's quite a bit going on. Your comment about a chief revenue officer is right on. That is long overdue and on the way. We have not been doing nothing.

There's a gentlemen now who works in your building named Don Meeks, and he is in charge of a program called Tribune 365 which is a sales organization set up to handle accounts across platform, across the paper, KTLA, Hoy, in our on-line products, and to generate money that is not currently allocated for the newspaper. And he is in the process of building a team to do that along with John O'Loughlin in the marketing department, because they're going after non-advertising dollars.

You probably know, 60% of the money spent in promotion is spent -- I mean, in marketing, is spent in promotion. And at the moment, newspapers don't go after that money except with coupons and the inserts in the Sunday paper. So we are building exactly what I promised you, which is a team to out and crack incremental revenue opportunities. I know it's frustrating because sales cycles take a year to 18 months, but Don is already building a team to do that.

We expect to have a CRO announced in a matter of, I'll say a few weeks, and it'll be before that. And we're very, very clear that we have no problems that a few hundred million in revenue wouldn't solve.

Gary Weitman: Mike, you've got a follow-up?

Michael Hiltzik: Yes, I would --. Can you tell us a little bit about where we stand with the appointment of a new publisher here at the Times? There's been speculation in public about people like Eddie Hartenstein and there's also been talk that Brian Greenspun may be playing a new role, at the Times and the Tribune generally. So [say] a little bit about whether there have been talks with Brian.

Sam Zell: I think the answer is, that we are working very hard on, again in finding the new publisher of the LA Times. We would expect to complete that sometime in the next three to four weeks. I don't think that Brian Greenspun's going to play any greater role in the LA Times going forward than the role he plays as a director of the Tribune, and somebody who's very interested in both helping us and making this adventure work. So, I think that given three or four weeks, I think all of your questions will be answered.

Gary Weitman: Thanks, Mike. We're going to move to Matthew Kauffman at The Hartford Courant.

Matthew Kauffman: Hi, thanks for holding this call. As Tim mentioned at the top of the call, several of your papers, including here at the Courant, are in the process of eliminating as much as a quarter of their reporting staff. You guys know the financial picture better than I do, so can you give me your thinking of how much time this round of elimination buys for the employees who are staying? For example, how likely is it, in your mind, that additional sort of broad based staff reductions will be required before the end of say, the calendar year?

Sam Zell: This is Sam. I think the answer is that we're not interested in trial by torture. We're not interested in having -- dying by 1,000 cuts. We are doing everything we can to make this downsizing happen as quickly and as painlessly as possible. I think that there are different timeframes for different parts of this organization, so I can't tell you specifically as it relates to your situation.

But I think that, particularly in the T6 papers, we've moved much closer to being finished than we are to starting. Having said that, we're all sitting here looking at a very perilous environment. And we're attempting to make our best judgment as to what we need to do, both to survive and to produce a product. So all I can tell you is that we think we've taken the steps in the newsroom that were required and are relevant. And we're hopeful that we can go forward from this point, and that's certainly our objective.

Gary Weitman: Matt, do you have a follow up?

Matthew Kauffman: I do. Sam, you were here almost exactly six months ago and had told the staff, I'll quote, "I do not believe that anybody can grow a business by reducing the number of employees. It is not our game plan to in effect, try and figure out how few people we can have run this business." And I think we've moved maybe a little bit more in that direction.

As I understand it, cash flow projections continue to fall at, I'm guessing at all the newspaper properties. And I don't think those numbers are anywhere near the numbers that you had expected to see when you were valuing the Company a year or so ago. Have you figured out for yourself, what went wrong in your analysis and how you could have been so far off in projecting what 2008 would look like for the industry?

Sam Zell: The answer is, that when we underwrote this transaction, we assumed a continued suppression of newspaper revenue, somewhere in the minus 5% to minus 7%. This was in line with everybody's expectations. As a matter of fact, our expectations were somewhat more pessimistic than conventional wisdom at the time. We have now confronted almost 20% depreciation in revenue.

I don't believe it's fair to hold me to the sentence that I expressed when I was there six months ago, when in fact, we've had a very traumatic, and frankly this is dramatically worse than September 11th. I mean, I don't know that anybody has a frame of reference on advertising revenue destruction that in effect is as bad as this, going all the way back to The Depression. So, I think the circumstances are dramatically worse than anyone could have possibly predicted. And we're dealing with it accordingly. There aren't a lot of other options if you want to stay in business.

Gary Weitman: Thanks, Matt. We're going to keep moving so that we can try and wrap this up in 30 minutes or so. We're going to go to Lorraine Mirabella at The Baltimore Sun. Operator, if you could open Lorraine's line.

Lorraine Mirabella: Hi, I had a question about asset sales and the sales that are in process or nearly completed, will the proceeds allow the Company to meet its debt obligations for this year? And, are there other asset sales that are being considered specifically, is The Baltimore Sun one of those? And is the Company speaking with any, or in contact with any potential buyers of the Sun?

Sam Zell: We believe that we have, with the asset sales in place, we have adequate liquidity to meet all of our requirements for 2008. And nothing has changed since I made that statement about two months ago. Are there future asset sales on the horizon? I can't answer that question in specificity. Obviously, the Cubs are on the agenda and beyond that, I don't think we have anything definitive.

As to the Baltimore Sun, as I've said numerous times before, when the Tribune transaction was originally announced, we were contacted by various people in various markets across the country who expressed an interest in buying various assets. We have had intermittent conversations with various people since that time with no definitive resolution. So, at least at this point, I would tell you that the only newspaper disposition that we have on our agenda for 2008 is Newsday.

Gary Weitman: Lorraine, you have a follow up?

Lorraine Mirabella: Well, I -- can you say whether any of those conversations that you've had have been with any groups that are interested in the Sun, and whether that has been any --?

Sam Zell: I previously had stated that we had in fact gotten inquiries from people on Newsday, on The Sun, on the LA Times, on the Florida newspapers, and I don't think that situation has changed at all.

Lorraine Mirabella: Okay.

Gary Weitman: Lorraine, we've got to keep moving. We're going to go to Scott Powers at The Orlando Sentinel. Operator, could you open Scott's line? Scott, your question?

Scott Powers: Yes, it's a follow up to Matthew, earlier I think. When you talk about the T6 papers are closer to being finished than started, what economic expectations do you have to set that in? I mean, what do you see going forward as the economic conditions that will make that work?

Randy Michaels: Well, the -- Scott, I think that what's -- I think that what Sam meant is that we did an exercise where we tried to project, based on the current trends, where we're going to be in 2010 and what the right size for the paper is. Sam said, death by 1,000 cuts is not -- I mean, I'm aware of how tough morale is and understandably so.

We need to get past the Sword of Damocles and get focused on how to build better papers with leaner staffs. And I would rather take our pain at once and get to where we need to be, so that we can focus on the important work that's ahead of us in reinventing the American newspaper.

So we're trying to get to 2010 levels right now. And we believe at T6 that we're going to be pretty close. I think what we're trying to avoid saying is, we're not going to guarantee you, there will never be another cut or that no one will ever lose their job. But it is certainly our intention to get it all out of the way right now, and move on with some focus and clarity.

Scott Powers: Does that expect continued revenue declines [in] what you've seen, or going back to the 5% to 7% that you'd expected earlier?

Sam Zell: I think the answer is that our internal projections assume that the majority of the decrease in advertising revenue is structural, primarily the movement of classifieds to the net. So I think we believe -- originally believed that migration would be much, much slower. I don't know why, frankly even at this point, it happened so fast. But the net effect has been that we have to look to the future, and I don't think that our 5% to 6% reduction in revenue that we projected a little over a year ago, or a year and a half ago, is probably a realistic in this changed environment.

Gary Weitman: Thanks, Scott. We're going to move now to Ellen Yan at Newsday.

Ellen Yan: Hi, everybody. Thanks. When do you guys expect the Tribune deal to be done?

Sam Zell: You mean the Newsday transaction?

Ellen Yan: Yes, I'm sorry, the Tribune Cablevision deal.

Sam Zell: We expect it to be done before the end of the summer, maybe sooner.

Ellen Yan: I'm hearing like maybe next week.

Sam Zell: Yes, that's a possibility. I didn't want to commit to you because, obviously we ain't done, and like I think Casey Stengel must have said, you ain't done until you're done.

Ellen Yan: All right. I know that once that's done, Tribune is going to have a member on the Board. Is that the entire Tribune's 3% stake, or can you talk a little bit more about the 3% stake including any specific reason for choosing 3% versus 4% or 5% or some other small number?

And does that also mean that Tribune will still keep getting 3% of the profit and also maybe share in -- or pay for 3% of any capital expenses?

Sam Zell: I'm not totally familiar with all of the details of the Newsday Cablevision/Tribune transaction. We do envision this transaction will close shortly. We envision that we will be a partner going forward with a minor voice commensurate with our ownership position.

I think that the final negotiations about what percentage of the company we would retain was a panalopy of all kinds of different issues that led to where we ended up and not some specific formula. But I would expect that Cablevision will make all of the decisions with reference to the operation of the business going forward, and that our board member would have a presence and a view, but obviously commensurate with our ownership.

Gary Weitman: Okay. Ellen, we're going to move forward. Mike Oneal from the Chicago Tribune.

Mike Oneal: Okay. You know, I think obviously we all understand the need to move more quickly and decisively in this environment, but how do you balance the needed change with the general state of chaos it creates, or disruption?

It seems as though, in some cases we're losing good people, in some cases we're -- there's just a lot of, as Randy said a minute ago, morale problems. I mean, in changing the newspapers themselves, there's obviously a lot of risk in doing the wrong thing. And I guess what I'm wondering is, is there a danger of destroying any long-term value in these brands in the interest of short-term survival?

Sam Zell: Michael, this is Sam. Let's just assume that we don't survive short term. What do you think our long-term benefits are? I think, Mike, some great philosopher, I think it was Confucius who said, necessity is the mother of invention. As Randy just explained to you a minute ago what we're doing right now is what we planned to do in 2010.

We thought we could very slowly prepare, change, execute it in an organized fashion and everybody would live happily ever after. Then the advertising market crashed. And we're looking at, as I said a minute ago, some of the worst advertising numbers in the history of the world.

I have a responsibility. And my responsibility is that I'd rather be able to keep this business alive when its cash flow has eroded at a prodigious level. What choice would you like me to have? I could just say, okay, let's just stop paying salaries and then we'd have enough cash flow and we wouldn't fire anybody. We just wouldn't pay them.

Or, we could downsize the business to reflect the realities both currently and going forward, and frankly, live to play another day. Believe me no one, no one enjoys the level of friction and the moral issues, and frankly, nobody enjoys laying people off. We're all human beings and we all have serious concerns about our fellow man. I certainly do and I think everybody sitting around this table does and yet the reality is, what's my choice?

Do I try and create a business that can be viable and preserve two-thirds of the jobs? Or, do I let all 100% of them go by the wayside because I'm not willing to confront the realities of the environment? So I guess I'd only ask you the same question, Michael in reverse. Either I make hard, short-term decisions, or I'm not going to have to make any decisions. What do you think I should do?

Randy Michaels: Michael, I'd also ask you to -- there's no question, it’s a real question and it’s a real situation and none of us signed up to do -- I didn't sign up to make the paper smaller. This was not our plan. But I'm sure it wasn't General Motors plan to close plants and lay so many people off. I'm sure it wasn't United Airlines plan to let 22% of the work force go and close 18 gates which, by the way, resulted in spending less in advertising.

I mean we're not alone, it’s a tough economy and as it gets worse it feeds on itself. And we're hardly the only business doing this. I think we're sometimes, as an industry, a little bit too absorbed on what's happening to the print business because it isn't just us. And, by the way, we're not the worst off. Take a look at GM and you can see, if that makes you feel any better, that we're getting off lightly.

Gary Weitman: Mike, do you have a follow up?

Mike Oneal: I do. I think we've all spent a lot of time over the last couple of years thinking about how do we grow on the Internet. And one of the things that I think we're confronting now is that the Internet sites, or at least in the case of Chicago Tribune the Internet has the scale to the kind of production that its already -- that it already has. And so, trying to do more on the Internet in this environment becomes difficult in the sense that are there people there who have the expertise to know how to translate some of what we're trying to do online.

Randy Michaels: Well, Mike, can I talk about that for a minute? I hear you, and we're in a -- we're doing a lot of things on the Internet to effectively recreate the newspaper. I think that’s the wrong business model. Page views don't equal circulation and display ads, while that’s what we have to sell in the paper, hardly optimize the potential of an interactive medium. And so, let me tell you what I envision specifically for the Chicago Tribune and for many of our other papers.

If you think about the history of journalism, newspapers gather most of the news in the market. Everybody gets their news from us, news radio and the TV stations and everybody else, they get their news from us because we're the people with by far the largest news staffs in each of our markets. But newspapers no longer break most of the news. We lost that in 1939 when Congress, as a result of interest in the war in Europe, forced AP and INS and UPI to start offering news to broadcast, and all of a sudden radio broke the news. That was taken from radio by television. That was taken from television by cable, because CNN is going to break more than CBS.

I think it's about to be our turn again. Because more and more people are getting breaking news on their PDA, on their cell phone, on their Kindle, on their digital assistant, and it's coming directly from the newsroom -- from the newspaper. And so, what I think we need to do -- you think about Chicago, we have the Chicago Tribune, we have WGN TV, we have CLTV, WGN Radio, all making the police calls, all going after the same stories because they go after them in very, very different ways.

We need to build, especially in markets where we have multiple media outlets, a breaking news center. And we need to recreate our website so that instead of looking like a newspaper online it looks like a breaking news site with the most recent news first, perhaps filtered based on your interest, perhaps not.

I'd like to see most people, or many people, leaving the Chicago Tribune website up all day on their computer because they're going to be constantly updated at work on the latest news. They may have to get the paper tomorrow to read the rest of the story and to get the perspective and the comment, but we need to become the breaking news authority.

That breaking news center needs to be a broadcast studio so that when it reaches a certain level it goes to bulletin status on television, on the radio. And in markets where we don't own the television, where we don't own the radio we need to partner with somebody. We need to sell our services. We need to become recognized as the source of breaking local news. And we're just a very little bit of technology away.

That may not sound like a big shift, but that is a significant shift. It's a big opportunity for the newspaper to regain its rightful place as the people who break the news and who gather most of the news in each of our communities. And that is coming to Chicago, to Los Angeles, to South Florida and in other markets as quickly as we can roll our partnerships.

Gary Weitman: Okay. And with that, we will close the call for now.

Randy Michaels: Let me say one other thing. I know that everybody hates the cutbacks. At the end of the day, we still have by far the largest news gathering organizations in our markets. In fact, the Chicago Tribune, once we complete these breaking news centers, which combine the resources of all of our media outlets, we'll have the largest, the two largest local news gathering organizations in America in Chicago and Los Angeles, smaller than they are now, yes, but still larger than any other --.

The New York Times is a national publication, the Washington Post has just gone through cuts. We will have more journalists, more people in our news centers than any other organization in America. I don't -- I'm not trying to say that makes it right, but they'll be nobody bigger and nobody to say we're too small because we'll be bigger than they are.

Gary Weitman: And with that, we will bring the call to a close. We will have an archive audio available on Triblink later today. We'll have a transcript up on Triblink late tomorrow afternoon. Thank you everybody for participating, appreciate it. Goodbye.

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your participation in today's call. You may now disconnect. Have a wonderful day.