Norman Pearlstine is about to be out of a job and likely is breathing a sigh of relief. Having successfully run major media entities like Forbes, Time Inc. and the Wall Street Journal, Pearlstine has tried for the past two and a half years to steer the recovery of the Los Angeles Times. He’s had some positive things working for him: A supportive billionaire publisher who has supplied massive refinancing and a gorgeous new headquarters. Also an eager readership that has survived years of frustration because of mismanagement.
Nothing can be more ominous than good portents, however: Despite Pearlstine’s stalwart efforts, and a near doubling of digital readership, the Times staff has seemed bent on self-immolation with its editors and reporters delivering more apologies than news. Last month, the newspaper published a special editorial section declaring its regrets for gaps in coverage dating back to the 19th century. As for Pearlstine, the executive editor, he has decided to move on.
To some in the media business, the problems of Times ring an alarm bell: Just as the Times can’t seem to overcome the forces of divisiveness and gloom, are other corporate entities destined for a similar fate?
It is perhaps no coincidence that the Trump administration, whose statements have poisoned moves toward cohesion, last week officially suspended all government diversity training programs. According to Trump’s executive order, these programs have only succeeded in propagating “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating.”
So what is the appropriate response? “Donald Trump is about to be defeated and it’s time for people to snap out of it, stop talking about moving to New Zealand and start building on the recovery,” comments the CEO of one media company who insists on talking off the record. “We’ve got to put