Thursday, May 24, 2007

AL MARTINEZ FORCED OUT OF L.A. TIMES

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: readers.rep@latimes.com. You can also write to the publisher, David Hiller, at david.hiller@latimes.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.

10 comments:

Rebel Girl said...

thanks for the tip - I've written my letter!

Check out Martinez's "final" column today (Friday 5/25) - his is a voice that will be missed!

Lisa Alvarez

Daniel Olivas said...

It is a powerful column today from Al Martinez...on the issue of hate. This is why it's a crying shame to lose his voice. Thanks for posting a comment and sending your email to the Times. I've added two additional email addresses to my post.

Lisa Alvarado said...

Daniel, I want to say thank you for this piece...but since it is about some shameful behavior on the part of the Times, you can see why I hesitate. I am grateful for the knowledge and the chance to respond.

The trend to make Latinos invisible is clearly increasing.....

Lisa

Ed Padgett said...

Chicago Tribune has no clue why circulation continues to plummet at the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers under their control, as they discard so many talented writers like disposable utensils.

Al Martinez’ last column will be published on June 1st, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times, his email account at the Times has been removed as of yesterday, our heads are hanging low with the news of Al’s departure from the newspaper.

Ed Padgett
Los Angeles Times Pressroom

Daniel Olivas said...

Ed, thanks for your comment. I simply don't get it but maybe with enough outcry, Al will stay on (I'm an optimist). If not, perhaps the LA Weekly or Tu Ciudad could bring him on board.

Kanani said...

Hi, thanks for coming over to the Pressmen's blog and leaving us a note.

There's also a post devoted to Al on my personal site Easy-Writer

I've listed links of what other people are saying as well.

In addition, please write to david.hiller@latimes.com or james.oshea@latimes.com and tell them you disapprove.

As I have said: In the past, the LA Times could have let Jack Smith and Jim Murray go. The SF Examiner could have let Art Hoppe go, and NY Times could have said kicked Pauline Kael out. But they didn't. They let these lions of journalism end their writing days at the papers that they were so closely related . It was the dignified thing to do.

Kanani said...

Daniel..
It has to do with money. The Times is not a locally owned entity anymore and it hasn't been for over a decade or more.

The fat cats in Chicago get huge salaries as well as severance packages and other options, which someone has to pay for. That's business.

But do NOT buy into the lie that all of the buyouts were voluntary. They were not, and Al along with other veterans and journalists with experience were given their buyouts and bade farewell.

Daniel Olivas said...

Kanani, thanks for the information. I've written to both Hiller and O'Shea as well as the readers' representative. I'll check out your site.

Michele McGee-Yepiz said...

Here is another address to vent your rebuke over Al being trimmed:
Mr. Dennis FitzSimons
Chairman, President and CEO
c/o Tribune Company
435 North Michigan Avenue
6th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60611-4066
(fax) 1-312-222-4206

Michele McGee-Yepiz said...

It appears Martinez's column will return once a week in an undetermined section. He met with editor James O'Shea on Thursday. Management was clearly unprepared for the load of e-mails from supporters.