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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 30, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 28Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Willes Replaced At Los Angeles Times'
LA Weekly 28Apr00 P2
by Howard Blume

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- The Tribune Co.'s takeover of the Los Angeles Times is proceeding, and LDS Church member Mark Willes is now out. Willes was replaced as Chairman, President and CEO of Times Mirror, the Times' parent company on Tuesday, marking the end of his era at the Times. The merger hasn't completed yet, and Willes still remains on the board until it is complete.

Willes' successor, John P. Puerner who is moving to the Times from the Tribune company's Orlando Sentinel, immediately distanced himself from Willes' policies, including his oft-ridiculed plan to double the Times' circulation. Puerner implied that Willes' circulation games came at too high a cost, "You sell [papers] to everyone who wants to buy them," he said. "But you don't pay people to take them." Puerner instead said that the Times' future lied in "multimedia and broadband," providing news information and content to consumers however and whenever they want it, "as long as we get something for it."

Puerner also hinted that the Staples Center scandal that occurred on Willes' watch was a mistake. The scandal erupted when it became clear that Times management violated ethical standards by devoting an entire Sunday magazine to the new arena, then splitting profits from the issue with the arena's owners. "Editorial integrity comes before everything else," said Puerner. "All of us have faced dilemmas like this in the past, and we know how to handle them."

Willes and his hand-picked publisher Kathryn Downing gave parting gifts to many staffers, autographed posters of the Times building framed at night against the L.A. skyline.


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