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The mess that the Tribune Company is trying to extract itself from in Los Angeles has a long-ish history, we learn from today's Wall Street Journal. Almost immediately after buying the Times Mirror Company in 2000 (former owners of the LAT, Newsday and the Baltimore Sun), Tribune found itself up shit's proverbial creek, and has been trying frantically to right things ever since.

They have, of course, been failing miserably, as a meeting over the summer aptly demonstrated:

Scott Smith, Tribune's president of publishing, said the need for local coverage was increasing. According to Henry Weinstein, the paper's legal-affairs reporter, who was at the meeting, Mr. Smith added that readers get their foreign and national news from a lot of places, such as Google or Yahoo Web sites.

Some in the room were stunned. Google and Yahoo do virtually no newsgathering of their own. Their sites publish stories from other news sources, including the L.A. Times. "It was mind-boggling that they thought there was some elf who plunked those stories there," says Mr. Weinstein.

Oh, but think how cute that'd be.

Clash of Cultures Exacerbates Woes For Tribune Co. [WSJ]