The Tribune Co., which owns The Hartford Courant, abruptly fired the publisher of another of its papers today for daring to stand up against more drastic staff reductions. Jeffrey Johnson, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, got canned for defying executives who ordered him to make more big cuts in the paper’s budget. Another journalistic hero bites the dust.
The Courant, of course, has no heroes now. It’s already whacked Northeast, sliced away customer service jobs and pared its newsroom. Its staff expects worse as the mania among media companies to reduce newsgathering continues. It’s an odd sort of move, when you think about it: wiping out reporters and editors so you can compete better. I guess the ultimate goal would be to have nobody doing journalism, yet somehow whipping the competition.
It makes me sad to see what’s going on. We’ll all pay for this largely unnoticed destruction of America’s newspapers. We’ll be more ignorant and less free, and we might not even know it.