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LA Times Publisher Fired for not cutting jobs

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Tribune Corp. wanted some heads to roll in downtown LA, and they got their wish with Publisher Jeffrey M. Johnson, who was forced to resign today.

"Jeff and I agreed that this change is best at this time because Tribune and Times executives need to be aligned on how to shape our future," said Scott Smith, Tribune Publishing president to the Associated Press. "We thank Jeff for his leadership of important advances at the Times and his significant contributions during his Tribune career."

Tribune Corp., which owns LA's KTLA-TV Channel 5, baseball's Chicago Cubs, the Chicago Tribune and several other media outlets, has shown all the signs of attempting to break up their conglomerate and allegedly wants to trim the size of LA's largest paper to make it more attractive to prospective buyers.

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LAT Editor Dean Baquet, who reportedly has been offered the top position at the Washington Post, says that he can work with the newly-named Publisher, David D. Hiller, who most recently held that position at the Chicago Tribune.

LA Observed sez "Baquet had coffee with Hiller this morning and apparently was told to make his strongest case for the Times fending off deep newsroom cuts. Hiller is expected to address editors this afternoon."

AP photo by Nick Ut