Jeffrey Johnson, publisher of the L.A. Times, had a bad week. According to the Washington Post, his Tribune Company bosses ousted him after Johnson learned earlier in the week that his wife had cancer. Johnson and his bosses didn’t see eye to eye and he had refused to make deeper cuts to the paper’s staff. “The staff has no confidence in Tribune management to do what’s right for journalism or the newspaper -- none whatsoever,” said William Rempel, the Times deputy sports editor. “They do not have any friends in this newsroom. They’d be booed out of the building.”
At what price do companies and institutions succeed when they start down this path? Is the bottom line the only thing that matters? Morale, loyalty, competency and motivation seem to be irrelevant. How far will carrying a big stick get you? How many lives will be turned upside down with the loss of a job? Will a family be able to afford to pay the COBRA to continue health insurance? What about the high school senior’s dream of attending college? Will there be money to pay the mortgage? How long will the savings last? How many sleepless, fitful nights will be filled with anxiety wondering when the axe will fall?
My questions for the powers that be. Is it just business? Is there another way? Do you care?