DAILY PILOT PUBLISHER TOM JOHNSON RESIGNS!
Tonight, when I cranked up my computer to check email and online newspapers, I almost fell out of my chair when I read the online Daily Pilot banner headline: "Daily Pilot Publisher Resigns". You can read the online article HERE. It took my breath away...
A TRULY GOOD MAN
Over the past few years I've gotten to know, and know about, Tom Johnson as I interacted with him and various members of the Daily Pilot staff. I've always found him to be a bright, fair man with a great sense of humor and outstanding community spirit. He struck me as a man who fully understood the responsibilities and obligations a community newspaper has to the area it serves. It's my impression that he was viewed by his staff as an excellent boss - a man they could trust.
ZELL CREATES CHAOS
As almost everyone knows, ever since Sam Zell bought the Tribune Companies - the parent of the Los Angeles Times and the Times Community Newspapers - there has been chaos in the organization. Despite Zell's occasional assurances that no catastrophic changes would take place, that's exactly what has been happening. The upper management of the Los Angeles Times has been in perpetual turmoil, with senior management turning over like frogs on a hot skillet. The editorial staff of the Times has been disemboweled over the past year or so.
JOHNSON LED THROUGH THE TUMULT
Johnson continued to try to lead the Times Community Newspapers through all the tumult, keeping his steady hand on the helm. Pressure from the top forced layoffs and the discontinuation of publication on Mondays as a cost-savings measure. I don't know what the final straw was that forced him to resign a job he has held for 15 years, but regardless his reason for departure, he will truly be missed.
HYENAS WILL BE HEARD
I have absolutely no doubt that there will be some in our community that will crow about Johnson's departure. Those catcalls will come from those who have perceived themselves to be slighted by Johnson's view that not everything written by every person is worthy of publication in the Daily Pilot - that editorial discretion and good taste will always be paramount.
THANKS FOR THE LEADERSHIP
I want to thank Tom Johnson for his leadership of the Daily Pilot and the other newspapers that formed the Times Community Newspapers, and for his unflagging dedication to fair, accurate, timely and honest journalism. The Daily Pilot story indicates that Johnson has no plans to retire, and that he will pursue another job when he departs from the Daily Pilot. He should have no trouble finding a new assignment - he is a superior leader who just happened to publish excellent newspapers. I wish him, and the loyal and dedicated staff he leaves behind, all the best.