New York Times Chronicles Tribune 'Frat House' Work Culture
October 6, 2010 at 4:25 AM (PT)
The NEW YORK TIMES has published a piece by DAVID CARR on WEDNESDAY's front page chronicling TRIBUNE's decline into bankruptcy and its work culture under CEO RANDY MICHAELS, including "Mr. MICHAELS's and his executives’ use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective" and describing the TRIBUNE TOWER as having become "a frat house, complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk."
Opening with a story about MICHAELS, shortly after taking over TRIBUNE, offering a waitress $100 to show him her breasts, a story he denies, the article includes anecdotes about MICHAELS and TRIBUNE INTERACTIVE's MARC CHASE loudly discussing "the sexual suitability of various employees" on a balcony above a work area, a senior executive and a female employee allegedly having sex on an office balcony, and the poker party for management in the office of the company's legendary former publisher Col. ROBERT R. MCCORMICK (as originally reported by VOCALO.ORG's ROBERT FEDER).
Also mentioned were the radio-style promotions, including contests, inserted into TRIBUNE television stations' newscasts; wrapping the LOS ANGELES TIMES in ads that mimic the paper's actual layout with fake news stories; and granting substantial bonuses to management while the company remains in bankruptcy and newspaper jobs have been cut.
Read the TIMES story by clicking here.
Michaels' Response: 'Ignore The Noise'
In response to the TIMES article, MICHAELS, according to the CHICAGO TRIBUNE's PHIL ROSENTHAL, sent an e-mail to TRIBUNE employees telling them to "ignore the noise" of the article and saying that CARR's reporting "concerned events, distortions and rumors more than two years old" and that "the most substantial of these allegations" in the story was found by an outside firm's investigation "to be without substance." "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," wrote MICHAELS, who also included without comment a link to a website about CARR's memoir of his own drug addiction and recovery "The Night of the Gun."
Judge Sets 10/15 Deadline For Tribune Reorganization Plans
Meanwhile, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge KEVIN CAREY has set an OCTOBER 15th deadline for the filing of reorganization plans for TRIBUNE CO. CAREY also set NOVEMBER 9th for a hearing to review the proposals. The company is presently in the middle of mediated talks with creditors to try and arrive at a consensus reorganization plan, but CAREY indicated that he expects multiple plans to be filed on behalf of several parties.