What led to Johnson's ouster

The now ex-publisher of the LAT tells the WSJ's Sarah Ellison that he and Scott Smith, president of Tribune's publishing unit, had been meeting over the past few weeks to discuss their differences over the paper's future. From the WSJ story now online:

While it was clear by the end of last week that they agreed on a lot, (Johnson) said, there were still major areas of disagreement. With Mr. Smith in Los Angeles for a dinner celebrating the paper's 125th anniversary, the two men discussed whether Mr. Johnson should quit. Those discussions continued on the phone over the weekend and earlier this week, when Mr. Smith requested Mr. Johnson's resignation. The two met yesterday morning to discuss how to communicate the news, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Here's what Michael Useem, professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, tells the WSJ: "You want people to push back if they think something is wrong, but then once a high level has decided this is the way we're going to go, then you really are obliged to fall in line or get out of the way."

More by Mark Lacter:
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Another rugged quarter for Tribune Co. papers
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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
The multi-talented Mark Lacter
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