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Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity, which took over the Union Tribune last week, has announced that Ed Moss of L.A. will become publisher effective May 18. He's most recently been president and CEO of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, owned by MediaNews Group, run by Denver's Dean Singleton, known for sharply reducing editorial budgets in the pursuit of profit.

Moss has also been publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal. He was appointed to that post in July 2006 by David Black, whose Black Press Ltd. purchased the struggling paper from McClatchy Co. for $165 million. Before Akron, Moss had been vice president of sales and marketing for Media General Inc. in Richmond, Va. Black is an advisor to Platinum and partner in the U-T deal, according to reports in the U-T.

In February, while in charge of the L. A. Newspaper Group, Moss announced that printing operations of the company's San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News and Whittier Daily News newspapers would be outsourced to the Orange County Register to save money. Closing down the U-T's printing plant and outsourcing the work to Orange County or the Riverside Press-Enterprise, as well as selling the U-T's Mission Valley property, has been a rumored option here.

As publisher of the Beacon Journal in December 2006 he insisted that draconian staff cuts there didn't effect the quality of coverage. "We still have 130 people in our news operation. One hundred and thirty people. I will tell you there are newspapers all over the country with that kind of staffing level that put out outstanding quality newspapers. .. and I believe we're doing it today."

But the U-T may have to say goodbye to the days of winning Pulitzer Prizes.

According to the Beacon Journal, Moss told the Akron press club that "he is less interested in winning state or national awards for journalism than in adding circulation, which is a more important 'win' for the Beacon because it indicates reader satisfaction."

Here's some more scuttlebutt on Moss from L.A. Observed a year ago

And here's a very interesting take on the Akron Beacon Journal's experience under Moss as a predictor of possible things to come in San Diego.

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Mrs_Abbott_was_right May 13, 2009 @ 10:43 p.m.

"...has been a rumored option here."

Can we use this comment space for rumors too? If so, young Preston may need to hire an agency to deal with the onslaught.

just sayin'...


PaperGirlSD May 12, 2009 @ 12:55 p.m.

Wow. So far the prediction is quite accurate. Most of the 192 were senior staff (read - more expensive). Not just in Editorial. Operations, Circulation, Accounting and Advertising were mostly senior staff too. There was nothing to be said for experience when cuts were being made.

Apparently, someone who has no experience, but gets paid less can easily do the job of someone who has years (sometimes decades) of knowledge, right?

I think I'll change my username to SnarkyGirlSD.


anon5 May 14, 2009 @ 9:02 a.m.

Papergirl, You all freak out during other layoffs and buyouts that none of the senior staff is affected. Now a ton of the senior staff is affected, and you are appauled?

I am so confused. If you are just going to be pissed no matter what they do, just admit it so we can understand which side you fall on.

However, thank you for being the first person to acknowledge that someone outside the newsroom lost their job. Believe it or not, good people do work outside the Newsroom


WhatGoesAround May 16, 2009 @ 1:01 a.m.

I agree with anon5 that many, many good people work outside of the Newsroom and usually are overlooked in discussions about job losses at newspapers. As early as 2001-02, cost-cutting measures were being mandated in at least one division of the U-T. Those cuts included eliminating full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions by attrition, process improvements, and cross-training. The goals then were budget cuts of 10 percent (on average) annually.

This was happening many years before the dramatic buyout/layoff cycles that began in 2006 and led up to the sale to Platinum Equity and the post-purchase announcement of another 192 layoffs.

When businesses are run in favor of rewarding an elite, self-preserving management at the expense of the front line employees and the survival of the organization, someone ought to drive a stake through the heart of the enablers.

Newspapers at their best offer visionary, commonsense, and effective management at all levels and across all divisions, producing exemplary journalism and ethical and honest treatment of all employees. In a relatively resilient metro region of the U.S. like San Diego, the human resources, capital investment and the potential of the U-T were squandered in a dysfunctional and destructive organizational culture where the health of the company was sacrificed to a selfish subset of sycophants.

I wish David Copley could have understood this better because if he had, he would be a wealthier man today with a still-thriving newspaper. The decline of the Union-Tribune represents a collosal waste of capital and human investment.


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