LAT’s Managing Editors Don’t Quit

The Los Angeles Times two managing editors, Douglas Frantz and Leo C. Wolinsky, will stay behind when new editor Jim O’Shea takes over on Monday.

After the jump are two staff memos, sent out a couple hours after Dean Baquet announced to the newsroom–while standing on a desk–that he was leaving.

From: Frantz, Doug – LA Times
Subject: I’m staying

Friends

Dean has been my boss for most of the last 12 years, and he has been my friend for more than 20 years. He has been a visionary and inspirational leader, and he’s been a good friend, too. I took the managing editor’s job partly out of loyalty to him, but over the last year, my loyalty expanded to encompass all of you and the jobs that you do for this newspaper. So while I’m angry and heartbroken, I’m not quitting. And I’m asking all of you not to quit, not literally or figuratively.

Our jobs continue after Dean’s departure. They will be harder because we are losing a great leader at a difficult time, but that makes it more important for us to remain focused on our responsibilities to our colleagues and families, to others in our profession who face similar challenges, and most of all to the community of readers who depend on us to produce the highest-quality newspaper every day. Working for a newspaper is not simply a job; it is a calling, which means that it requires a personal commitment from all of us to put the good of the newspaper ahead of our personal anger.

Like all of you, I’m proud to have worked for Dean Baquet, but I’m even prouder to be part of this great newspaper family. I thank all of you, the reporters and editors and photographers and designers and assistants and clerks, for the opportunity to share this fight. The Los Angeles Times is worth it.

All best

Doug

From: Wolinsky, Leo
Subject: Ok, so I’m staying too!
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Friends,

Okay, so Doug beat me to it. Number two, the story of my life!

Just a brief word from an old-timer on a very difficult day. Losing Dean is the most difficult change I’ve had to weather. And I’m sure it’s true for most of you. He not only is an amazing creative force, but a wonderful, welcoming friend who will be missed.

This is not the first trauma to hit the newsroom. Though this one feels particularly painful, we’ve been through a lot over the last 15 years. There was the exit of Otis Chandler as publisher. The newsroom was raw after the L. A. riots opened up rifts between staffers. Mark Willes, the famous Cereal Killer, pulled an Alexander Haig and became both CEO and publisher. Of course there was the Staples scandal.

Through each of these and many other difficulties, the staff continued to do what it does best–strive to put out the best newspaper in America. Our ambition remains unchanged. The future is full of uncertainties. And changes are inevitable So what can we do? Each of you has the power to rise again, to do great work and keep this paper strong for the community we serve. We are more than a business. We are a public trust. I know we’re all proud of that role. I intend to stay and fight to keep this paper great. I hope you’ll join me.

Leo