'LA Times' Writer Says He 'Deserved a Better Way' to End Long Career

By: E&P Staff A longtime Los Angeles Times columnist has been pressured to take a buyout, according to an LAObserved.com story.

The piece reprinted an e-mail Al Martinez sent late Wednesday afternoon to Times colleagues. In it, he wrote: "I dislike rumors and so I take these means to tell you all that I am a victim of the buyout/layoff frenzy. My final column for a newspaper I have worked for since 1972, in a business I have been a part of since 1952, winning more awards and honors than would ever fit on my wall, will be Friday, June 1st.

"I always thought that I would be the one to decide when it was time to walk away, when my prose faltered and my thinking blurred. But that's not the way it works anymore with the owners we have in the climate that exists. Too bad. I think I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career."

Times Executive Director of Communications Nancy Sullivan declined to comment when E&P spoke with her this afternoon. Martinez could not be reached.

Martinez spent 12 years as a reporter and feature writer for the Times before becoming a columnist in 1984. The U.S. Marine veteran has also authored a number of books, and written for TV series and TV movies. He was nominated for a 1992 Emmy for the CBS-TV film "Out on the Edge."

Kevin Roderick, in his LAObserved.com article, called the Times writer "one of the paper's most recognized bylines."

Prior to joining the Times in 1972, Martinez was a columnist, feature writer, and military reporter for the Oakland (Calif.) Tribune.


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