Sexists, boors, buffoons given free rein at Tribune Co.

Execs at ailing U.S. media giant make “Mad Men” gang look progressive

The long, painful bankruptcy of the venerable Tribune Company of Chicago is often cited as proof of print media’s bleak future. But a New York Times exposé suggests the firm, which controls the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and WGN TV, has been afflicted by grossly incompetent—and sometimes just gross—leadership since its leveraged purchased by real estate mogul Sam Zell in 2007. Leading the frat pack has been top executive Randy Michaels, who set the tone by offering a waitress $100 to bare her breasts during an early meet-and-greet at a luxury hotel with senior staff. Beer-and-stogie fueled poker parties in the execuvitve suite; bosses loudly discussing the sexual suitability of female workers in the presence of other workers; senior managers receiving sexual favours from employees—all count among the allegations quoted in the NY Times item. The story makes a convincing case that the atmosphere of amateurishness extends to business operations, with unqualified managers put in positions of authority, lamely attempting to disguise cuts as innovation, and standing in the way of the Trib’s core mission of delivery quality journalism (one was stunned to learn that LA Times reporters covering the Iraq war were actually in Iraq). No surprise that the NY Times was able to find a surfeit of departed employees—many of them female—to dish the dirt.

New York Times

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