Tuesday, November 07, 2006


L.A. Times editor to leave the paper

Dean Baquet
Dean Baquet

Jeff Johnson
Jeff Johnson

By James Rainey
Times Staff Writer

2:03 PM PST, November 7, 2006

Dean Baquet was forced to resign as editor of the Los Angeles Times at the request of the publisher after he refused to agree to further cuts of his editorial staff.

Baquet's departure was to be announced on Thursday but word leaked out this afternoon and the 50-year-old editor confirmed to his staff that he would be leaving the paper on Friday.

Baquet will be replaced by James O'Shea, who is currently managing editor of the Chicago Tribune and a long-time employee of the Tribune company, which owns The Times and 10 other daily newspapers.

O'Shea is expected to assume the job on Monday.

Baquet's fight with Tribune became public in late September when he and then Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson defied calls for reductions in the Times newsroom staff of about 940.

Baquet told reporters and editors gathered in his office that he did not know whether staff cuts would now go ahead, but it's widely believed among newsroom executives that substantial reductions will be ordered, probably by next year.

"Just remember, it's a great paper and it will stay that way," Baquet told a somber group of editors and reporters who gathered in his office.

Times Publisher David D. Hiller, who took over from Johnson one month ago, and Baquet had a series of conversations last week in which Hiller made plain that cuts are on the way. Baquet repeated his position that he would not oversee further reductions.

He said such cuts would harm the paper's ability to cover the world, national affairs and a huge and diverse local community.