We Bid A Fond Adieu To Tony Dodero
SAD "LA" TIMES
I've written from time to time recently about the sad days at the Los Angeles Times and it's covey of community newspapers, including the Daily Pilot - our newspaper of record for a century.
ZELL, THE DESTROYER
Sam Zell bought the Tribune Companies, including the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs and Wrigley Field, plus other media assets - like our local KTLA, Channel 5. Ever since that acquisition Zell, who has no clue about how to actually run media companies, much less in these perilous times, has begun a herky-jerky process of devaluing those assets. I'm not sure how that makes any sense, but that's what he's doing.
PRUNING WITH A CHAINSAW
For example, a year ago the Los Angeles Times newsroom was staffed by 1200 writers, editors, photographers and others so essential to the gathering and presentation of the news. Today it is under 650, with another 200 people to be turned loose this week.
Among those dedicated news folks being released this week is my friend, Tony Dodero, Director of News and Online at the Daily Pilot! After 18 years with the organization, Tony will walk out the door today for the final time and into a future with great uncertainty. Sadly, he's not alone in this situation these days.
LOYALTY REPAID WITH A KICK IN THE TEETH
You will recall that when Publisher Tom Johnson resigned in protest of the draconian cuts being manifested on the Times and it's subsidiaries earlier this year it was left to Dodero to grab the helm of the Daily Pilot and it's sister publications to try to keep them focused and functioning. He did a great job with a very difficult situation. His reward for this loyalty is a pink slip. Such is life at the Los Angeles Times these days.
NEARLY TWO DECADES OF SERVICE
Tony began at the Pilot as an intern for a few months almost 20 years ago, was offered a full-time job and progressed through the ranks as his talents were recognized. Over the years he's moved around through the Los Angeles Times organization with stops in Huntington Beach, Long Beach and Santa Monica. He's built new organizations - the Times Community Newspapers were a group of 23 individual newspapers at one time. He became Editor of the Daily Pilot in 1999.
GOOD NEWSMAN AND FRIEND
Throughout his career in the Los Angeles Times organization he became known as a tenacious reporter, excellent writer and editor and a superior manager. Along the way he has also become known as a good friend to many who have worked for and with him.
CREATED AN EXCELLENT ONLINE PRESENCE
When it became obvious that the Daily Pilot needed to develop a better, more professional online presence Tony was the "go to" guy and he responded by creating an online entity that is excellent and serves it's readers well.
RECOGNIZING AND DEVELOPING TALENT
Throughout his career Tony has hired and nurtured some excellent young reporters and editors, most of whom have moved on to bigger things after earning their spurs at the Daily Pilot. This skill for recognizing and developing talent is one of Tony's strengths. For most of this decade he has taught a Beginning Journalism course at Orange Coast College, where he encouraged and educated young folks with an interest in journalism.
HE'LL MISS THE PEOPLE
During a conversation today Tony told me that he will miss the people the most. He said he's enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people over the years and especially enjoyed serving our community.
INEXPLICABLE CALLOUSNESS AT THE LA TIMES
As if pouring that last grain of salt in an open wound, the powers-that-be at the Los Angeles Times have refused to let Tony write a parting column - a courtesy he, as Editor, has provided to many former staffers as they moved on. It's a shame they chose not to permit him to say thank you to the readers after all his years of exemplary service. This is a perfect example of the callousness of those in charge of a once-great newspaper.
GOOD-BYE TO MY FRIEND
Since I began writing Letters to the Editor to the Daily Pilot early in 2001 I've gotten to know Tony Dodero and consider him a friend. He's blessed with a cadre of caring, supportive friends and a wonderful family. We know Tony will land on his feet. We thank him for his contributions to our community and wish him, and his family, only the best as he steps off into a new direction in his life.