Tribune CEO's Memo Says Today's 'New York Times' Story is All Lies


If you have not read the new David Carr piece on Tribune Company, I suggest you do, and I promise that even if you do not usually care about words like “newspapers” and “Chicago” and “bankruptcy” and “a collection of carnival workers,” you will still enjoy it mightily. And then you can come read the memo that Tribune’s Randy Michaels put out companywide last night in response. It follows, and it’s really ridiculous.

From: Tribune Communications
Sent: Tue Oct 05 20:09:33 2010
Subject: Message from Randy Michaels/Anticipated Column About Tribune

We have been informed that tomorrow’s New York Times will run a column written by David Carr ( Many of the questions Mr. Carr asked us for this article concerned events, distortions and rumors more than two years old. He will apparently paint the work environment at Tribune as hostile, sexist and otherwise inappropriate. Many of the rumors Mr. Carr referenced were spread by an ex-Chicago Tribune employee who is now a contributing writer to the New York Times. Mr. Carr has made clear that he is digging up these old allegations because he believes that decisions about the company’s management are about to be made, and he wants to influence those decisions. Mr. Carr knows that an outside firm investigated the most substantial of these allegations, and that they were found to be without substance. Mr. Carr intends to use them anyway.

As you know, it is our intention to create a fun, non-linear creative environment. I am tremendously proud of the results of that creative culture. Our websites on the P2P platform are the most advanced in media. We have reconfigured production of the newspaper with standard ad sizes, Media on Demand Modules, and combined editing, design, and layout functions using technology. We have “Breaking News Centers” that eliminate redundancy and give newsmakers one contact point for each market’s most powerful news media. TOPS, TONS, and BRUTUS have changed the way TV is produced and aired.

It is our intention to have creative environment. A creative culture must be built on a foundation of respect for each other. Our goal is an environment where people are free to speak up, free to challenge authority, and free to fail on the way to success. Our culture is NOT about being offensive or hurtful. This is supported by our Harassment Policy. It’s in the Employee Handbook which is posted on TribLink-Section 3.

The fact that so many at other media companies dwell on the way it used to be creates great opportunity for those of us willing to rethink our opportunities and recast our culture. Ignore the noise. Treat each other with respect. Have fun, and let’s go create the future.


My goodness. I don’t know, it’s like he’s never read a newspaper before.

In one small part, we’ll all agree with Randy Michaels-I also prefer to create workplaces where I am free to swear and be “creative”! (So does, oh right, almost anyone who’s ever worked at a newspaper.) And, yes: most modern workplaces are ridiculously uptight. On the other hand, some of us have boundaries and have never bit any of our employees on the neck, as was accused of Randy Michaels in one lawsuit in the 90s. Oh and also I didn’t help drain the life blood out of a corporation in the most spectacular, hideous way, leaving behind a series of newspapers that barely exist and should probably be stabbed to death. But God forbid Randy Michaels actually address the substance of the article.