The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers

By Aucoin, James | Journalism History, Fall 2012 | Go to article overview

The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers


Aucoin, James, Journalism History


O'Shea, James. The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers. New York: Public Aflairs, 2011. 395 pp. $28.99.

The "deal from hell" was Chicago real estate developer Sam Zell's purchase of the publicly traded Tribune Company, which took the company private and eventually drove it into bankruptcy. At first, Zell was thought to be somewhat of a savior for the company after corporate lawyers and bankers who managed the company imperiled it by purchasing the Los Angeles Times. Zell's management, though, soon proved to do more harm than good.

After the corporate destruction and bloodletting, the Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel, Long Island Newsday, and the once-great Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times stood as mere shadows of their former selves, plundered first for investor dividends and then to pay off the billions of dollars in debt incurred when Zell took the company private using borrowed dollars.

James O'Shea has inside information gained from more than two decades working for the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. He was managing editor of the Tribune when he was appointed editor of the Times and was the third person in two years to take the helm in Los Angeles after Tribune Company purchased the newspaper. Dysfunctional and rapacious management kept newsrooms in turmoil by repeatedly demanding budget cuts to satisfy the greed of investors - primarily the Chandler family (more than 100 ancestors of the founders of the Los Angeles Times, General Harrison Gray Otis and Harry Chandler) and, later, Sam Zell.

Amazingly, the managers of two of Americas greatest newspapers put the fates of their newsrooms in the hands of men and women with no experience in newspapers or journalism - lawyers, MBAs, bankers, accountants, broadcast executives, and investors such as Zell. The disastrous results should have been expected.

O'Shea's memoir provides insights into a number of media leaders at the helm of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times from the 1970s into the twenty-first century: John Madigan, Tribune Company CEO who engineered the merger of the Tribune and the Los Angeles Times; Charles Brumback, Madigans predecessor in the CEO role; Mark Hinckley Willes, the CEO of the Times Mirror Company when the merger occurred (and infamous for the Staples Center/Los Angeles Times partnership on a promotional tabloid that shook the newspaper industry for its brazen fracture of the line between journalism and advertising); Dennis FitzSimons, champion of market-driven news, who became CEO of Tribune Company by rising through die ranks of the company's broadcast sales division; Jack Fuller, publisher of the Tribune-, John Carroll, who as editor of the LosAngehs Times led it to a remarkable five Pulitzer Prizes during his short tenure at the paper; and many others, including Zell. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Deal from Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.