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New Team at Times to Address Changes in Publishing Industry

Tribune Co. executives have been talking a lot lately about the new team they have put in place to reinvigorate the sagging fortunes of their largest newspaper, the Los Angeles Times.


Tribune veteran John O’Loughlin, who joins the Times Aug. 1 as senior vice president for marketing, planning and development, becomes the latest newcomer to the executive suites. And when the paper’s managing editor, Dean Baquet, succeeds John Carroll as editor next month, he will also take on a senior vice president title.


Before those two hires, four of the nine Times officials with the rank of senior vice president or higher have come to their positions within the past year.


That’s no coincidence. Executives at Tribune, which bought the Times five years ago, are intent to reverse circulation declines and build up advertising, which has been stagnant or declining in many categories.


The new executive team has a distinctly Tribune flavor. Besides O’Loughlin, four Times senior executives worked for the Chicago-based media company before joining the Times: Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson, Executive Vice President and General Manager David P. Murphy, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert E. Bellack and Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Robert J. Palermini.


Two of the more recent hires came from outside Tribune: Senior Vice President of Advertising Todd Brownrout, who headed advertising for the two daily newspapers in Philadelphia; and Senior Vice President of Circulation Jack D. Klunder, who held the same position at the MediaNews Group-owned Los Angeles Newspaper Group.


The 37-year-old O’Loughlin is a rising star within Tribune. The company tapped him in 2002 to launch RedEye, a youth-oriented edition of the Chicago Tribune that features shorter stories, a more lively design and an emphasis on entertainment coverage. While industry watchers say that RedEye and its competitor, Red Streak, were succeeding in their goal of attracting younger readers, others point out that many copies of the free tabloids are left sitting at train stations and newsstands.


The hiring of O’Loughlin doesn’t mean Tribune plans to launch a youth-oriented tabloid in Los Angeles, nor does it signal that the Times’ corporate owner is tightening its control of the newspaper, said Martha Goldstein, the Times’ vice president of communication and a veteran from the previous Times-Mirror ownership. O’Loughlin replaces Steven U. Lee, another Times-Mirror holdover who left the newspaper in June.


Goldstein said the Times leadership team includes longtime Times executives, Tribune Co. transplants and people hired from other publishing companies. “It’s still a mix,” she said.



News Blues


KNX-AM (1070), which offended news purists last year by adding non-news programming and chatter among its news readers, is falling flat in the ratings.


KNX sank to 27th place in the spring quarter of 2005, down from 17th place in the winter quarter, according to Arbitron Inc. ratings released last week of 47 stations in the L.A. market.


In early 2004, KNX’s owner, Infinity Broadcasting Corp., revamped the lineup with new morning anchors and programs such as cooking shows that were supposed to boost ratings.


Pat Duffy, the general manager of KNX, did not return a telephone call for comment.



*Staff reporter James Nash can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230, or at

jnash@labusinessjournal.com

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