Ron Kaye, the former editor of the Los Angeles Daily News, has some criticism for Ed Moss, the new publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Kaye, who was fired as editor while Moss ran the Daily News, dubs Moss a “journalistic mortician,” and says his arrival in San Diego doesn’t bode well for the Union-Tribune.

In a post today on his blog, Kaye writes:

Sending Moss to fix a struggling paper is like sending a mortician to treat an ailing patient. He will do the only thing he knows how to do: Cut, and cut, and cut some more: When he’s done with his handiwork, the U-T will be ready for embalming and burial much like the Daily News is.

Moss arrived at the Daily News nearly two years ago when it still had fight in it and immediately was dubbed “Little Napoleon” for his short stature, imperious manner and inability to engage in any kind of intelligent discussion of strategies that might save the paper.

He’s a man who speaks in vapid cliches and offers no leadership.

What Ed knows is how to cut, a skill that is attributable to his ruthlessness and lack of respect for the people who work for him.

In his 23 months at the Daily News, the editorial staff — already reduced by half in previous years — was slashed by two-thirds. There’s now only nine news reporters and a staff of barely 40 to produce the paper which has shrunk to the point most days that it gives new meaning to the idea of a fast-read newspaper. …

I’ve never worked for anyone worse in my 44 years at nine different news organizations. …

It says a lot about the state of the newspaper industry that someone like him can land a plum job in a vibrant town like San Diego where the paper could be saved while so many skilled people I know in circulation, advertising and journalism are out of work.

My heart goes out to my colleagues still at the Daily News every time I pick up the paper and see what Moss’ leadership has done to it. Somehow I hope it will be different in San Diego but I doubt it.

(Hat-tip to LA Observed.)


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