cover image The Deal From Hell

The Deal From Hell

James O'Shea. PublicAffairs, $27.99 (376p) ISBN 978-1-58648-791-1

O'Shea, a veteran journalist who was once at the helm of the Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times, recounts the events leading to the dissolution of several major American newspapers in this gripping story of a troubled industry. Told from the "front-row," O'Shea shows how ill-advised mergers, mismanagement, acquisitive Wall Street execs, and the Tribune Company's eventual bankruptcy filing crippled an industry. Beginning with a primer on 20th century journalistic trends that set the stage for disaster, O'Shea chronicles the shocking details of how it all came to pass.%C2%A0After being fired from the L.A. Times in 2008 for his refusal to effectuate budget cuts issued from on high, O'Shea refused to sign the anti-defamation clause that would have prevented him from writing this book.%C2%A0Understandably, he is not pleased with how everything turned out, though his book is less a condemnation of those responsible for the industry's collapse and more a cautionary tale for others still active in the field he loves. While recounting how business interests sought an improper place in public service journalism, O'Shea works in fascinating and funny anecdotes that make for an excellent read. For those who want an inside look at what makes American journalism work (and not work), O'Shea offers a unique and valuable perspective. (June)