Bloomberg News

Los Angeles Times Opinion Editor Quits in Ethics Flap

March 22, 2007

Los Angeles Times Editorial Page Editor Andres Martinez resigned over the newspaper's decision to cancel a special edition of its Sunday Current section.

Martinez quit after Publisher David D. Hiller canceled this Sunday's opinion section to avoid the appearance that Martinez's relationship with a publicist led to the choice of producer Brian Grazer as guest editor. The newspaper, owned by Chicago-based Tribune Co., reported the resignation today on its Web site.

``They were right to pull the section,'' said Bryce Nelson, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School. ``It was strange in the first place that they were going to bring in someone with vested interests to edit a section. That was a mistake.''

Martinez acknowledged his relationship with public relations executive Kelly Mullens, who had worked on Grazer projects including the film ``A Beautiful Mind.'' He was named editorial page editor 18 months ago to make the section more enticing and attractive, Nelson said. Hollywood director Steven Spielberg was Martinez's first choice to guest edit the section, the L.A. Weekly reported.

The Los Angeles Times is Tribune's largest newspaper. The parent company has reported falling circulation and advertising revenue since it began exploring a sale in September and said yesterday advertising sales slid 5.1 percent in February.

Shares of Tribune rose 40 cents to $29.50 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. They have fallen 4.2 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leon Lazaroff in New York at llazaroff@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emma Moody at emoody@bloomberg.net.


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