Over at LAObserved, Kevin Roderick reports the unhappy and rather bizarre news that Al Martinez, long time columnist for the Los Angeles Times, is being forced out. Roderick reports:
“Columnist Al Martinez has been with the Los Angeles Times more than 30 years and, despite being exiled to the back of the features section several years ago, is one of the paper's most recognized bylines. He has written for TV and authored many books. We share Angel City Press as a book publisher, and previously shared L.A. Times Books, so I have co-inhabited a few book signing events with Martinez and each time have marveled at the crowds he draws. Well, he revealed in an angry farewell email to his Times colleagues this evening that the editors told him to take the buyout or else. His hurt missive concludes that ‘I think I deserved a better way of ending such a long and honorable career.’ His last column for the Times is June 1.”
Roderick also reports this: “Al Martinez just sent a second email to his L.A. Times colleagues, informing them that the newspaper will de-activate his email address tonight [May 24, 2007]. He included a personal email address, but rather than publish it I'll just say that we'll forward any messages received at LA Observed.”
If you’ve enjoyed Martinez’s columns and/or his books and you’re not happy about this, I urge you to write to the Los Angeles Times at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also write to the publisher, David Hiller, at email@example.com, or the editor, James O'Shea, at James.Oshea@latimes.com. I also want to thank Kevin Roderick for reporting on this latest development at the Times.
Also, today Bill Boyarsky over at LAOserved wrote this very fine column regarding the ouster of Al Martinez. He notes in part:
"Of all the stupidities committed by the new owners of the Los Angeles Times, the dumping of Al Martinez is one of worst.
"A newspaper is supposed to reach out to its readers. Al has that unique gift. Even after ignorant editors exiled him far to the rear of feature sections, he retained his big and loyal following.
* * *
"Al is the best known of the buyout targets. Other talented people have been forced out . Some were veterans and others in mid career. Management has cut out the guts of the paper and the readers will suffer."
If you wish to write to Al Martinez, here is his e-mail.