The fall of the great papers

James O’Shea is considered a hero by many frontline newspaper people for sacrificing himself rather than gut the Los Angeles Times’ staff at the direction of his corporate overlords. In The Deal From Hell: How Moguls and Wall Street Plundered Great American Newspapers, O’Shea uses his own personal experience and his reporting chops (which are significant) to come to a conclusion shared by this paper’s CEO: The failure of newspapers has less to do with the Internet than it does with the quarterly profits required of big business. O’Shea uses his own career as the template from which to understand the decline of the dailies, and he reveals the inner workings of the Tribune-Times merger (it was actually more of a takeover), the downsizing, and the purchase of the companies by Sam Zell—which pushed them into bankruptcy. If you want to know what’s really going on with the print news business, this book is a good start.