Publisher Jeffrey Johnson Out at ‘Los Angeles Times’

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By: E&P Staff

Jeffrey Johnson, the publisher of the Los Angeles Times, has been asked to leave the company. Johnson, who was asked to resign this morning, had recently taken a very public stand against Tribune execs over impending staff cuts at the paper.

In a press release from the Tribune Co., Scott Smith, president of Tribune Publishing, said: “Jeff and I agreed that this change is best at this time because Tribune and Times executives need to be aligned on how to shape our future.”

David Hiller, the publisher of the Chicago Tribune, has been appointed the Times’ new publisher as well as its president and CEO.

Hiller’s internal memo this afternoon to Los Angeles Times staffers reads:

To all of my new colleagues:

By now you have heard that I have been named publisher, following my friend Jeff Johnson.

I hope to meet as many of you as possible in the days and weeks ahead, but I wanted to introduce myself today even if e-mail seems inadequate under the circumstances. Here’s what I want you to know:

I read and love newspapers and have the highest regard for the Los Angeles Times, its great journalism, and the special role it plays in Southern California.

I have worked with many of you and know what a talented and creative team we have here.

I believe in the future of newspapers as the most trusted source of news and information in the communities we serve. To achieve that future we have to continue to change, because our readers, online users and advertising customers continue to change.

I have a lot to learn about the Times and our community, and with your help I will try to be a fast learner.

It is an honor to be able to come here and work with you.

Thanks and I look forward to meeting you soon.


Hiller is expected to ask Dean Baquet to stay on as editor.

Baquet also has not been shy about voicing his opinions regarding the proposed cuts, and recently said in an L.A. Times report that they would significantly damage the quality of the newspaper.

Scott Smith will temporarily take on the duties of president and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Smith was president, publisher and CEO of that newspaper and its related developing businesses between 1997 and 2005.

Calls placed to the Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times, and Johnson’s office have not been returned.

The Los Angeles Times has been hammered by weak advertising and circulation declines over the past two years.

Johnson was appointed publisher of the paper in June 2005, succeeding John Puerner.

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