Worst of Times

In Los Angeles, a newsroom erupts over a business-side gaffe

Word swept quickly around the newsroom of the Los Angeles Times by interoffice e-mail. Otis Chandler, the former publisher who shepherded the paper to nine Pulitzer Prizes, was back--in spirit if not in fact. Chandler, who retired as publisher in 1980, sent his message directly to reporters, to the dismay of the newspaper's management. Read aloud as more than 100 staff members gathered in the newsroom, his words were stunningly direct. His successors, he said, had been "unbelievably stupid" and caused "the most serious single threat to the future" of the paper his family had bought in 1882. People gasped in...

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