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CEOs of Tribune Publishing are out after a series of controversies: NPR



Justin Dearborn, Chairman and CEO of Tribune Publishing, and Ross Levinsohn, CEO of the company's interactive department, face a series of controversies and a failed sale of the company.

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Justin Dearborn, Chairman and CEO of Tribune Publishing, and Ross Levinsohn, CEO of the company's interactive department, are leaving a series of controversies and a failed sale of the company.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Top officials of the Tribune Publishing, which include the Chicago Tribune (19459024), The Baltimore Sun and the New York Daily News following a controversial wave. Those involved include the CEO of the news chain and the top two officials in his digital branch, according to a memorandum sent Thursday by the newspaper's new CEO, Timothy Knight.

"I know first-hand that delivering high-quality, local journalism has never been so important," Knight wrote in his memo, announcing the departures. "I am determined to continue finding the business models that will fund our journalism."

Like many other colleagues, the Tribune papers have struggled to find a formula for success, and they have repeatedly gone through cuts under their current ownership. The recent history of Tribune Publishing includes a series of incidents in which executives have been charged with enriching themselves at the expense of their journalists.

Justin Dearborn joined Tribune Publishing in February 2016 on behalf of his longtime business partner Michael Ferro, who took a minority stake just a few weeks before. Dearborn was appointed chairman early last year after Ferro had left a formal role in the face of a sexual harassment charge filed by two Fortune magazine women. Dearborn's departure takes effect immediately.

Ross Levinsohn, a former Advisor to Tribune Publishing who became Executive Director, has also disappeared. In August 2017, he became editor and director of the company's largest and most important property at the time: the Los Angeles Times .

Levinsohn's digital strategy alienated his newsroom: he tried to rely on a fleet of outside authors; Some would be unpaid or pay for the privilege of appearing under the company's newspaper brands. His election for editor-in-chief in Los Angeles drew fire into the newsroom, which sparked a successful union organization. (This would lead to work on Tribune's newspapers in Chicago and Virginia, which was equally successful.)

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in February 2018 Ferro chose this Tribune would the LA Times to one of the other key stakeholders of the company, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, sell, a multi-billionaire. (Tribune also sold The San Diego Union Tribune at Soon-Shiong.) The resurrected and newly independent [[LA] LA Times had a hiring spree.

As Part After this sale, the company announced that Levinsohn was freed from misbehavior concerns and was appointed CEO of the Tribune digital publishing division. Mickins Rosen, Levinsohn's deputy, had previously worked with him on several occasions. She too leaves the company.

Last month, NPR reported that Tribune Publishing had entered into a confidential agreement to pay Levinsohn's predecessor $ 2.5 million for the LA Times to prevent unlawful dismissal. The lawsuit publicly exposed Ferro's anti-Semitic remarks made at a dinner with corporate executives. They were told to the NPR by two people who said they had been present that evening and heard them.

The company became known in the industry for its extremely generous compensation for its executives, notably Ferro (formerly Chairman), Dearborn and Levinsohn. The latter two received significant compensation of seven percent if the company was sold by the end of 2018. Tribune had asked for offers last year, including offers from the McClatchy news chain. Ferro and Tribune had sharply rejected earlier attempts by Gannett Co.

. Now news reports indicate that Tribune Publishing has attempted to arouse Gannett's interest – even the target of a hostile takeover bid by a newspaper company controlled by a well-known hedge fund – cutting its newspaper records.

Tribune stays very much on the block.

Knight was the president of Tribune Publishing and had helped lead the parent to the Chicago Sun-Times when Ferro was the dominant owner of this tabloid press. Former US Rep. David Dreier, a Republican from California, is the new CEO.


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