The two full-time horse racing writers at the Los Angeles Times, Larry Stewart and Bob Mieszerski, were among the 150 editorial employees of the struggling paper to be terminated on Monday.
Times publisher David Hiller also was axed, the paper reported on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times has the fourth-largest circulation among daily papers in the United States, with circulation of over one million. Like many mainstream media print publications, however, the Times has fallen on hard times and has gone through several rounds of staff and budget cuts. The Times is owned by the Tribune Co. of Chicago, which also owns the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and eight other newspapers. The editor of the Chicago Tribune also resigned Monday, suggesting turmoil at that paper, too.
News of the terminations of Stewart and Mieszerski was first reported at www.sportsjournalists.com and picked up on a fan's forum on the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club's Web site. The Paulick Report confirmed the terminations through sources.
The loss of the two full-time racing writers came just before the opening of the Del Mar meeting on Wednesday and three months before the Breeders' Cup comes to Santa Anita Park in the Los Angeles area. It remains to be seen whether anyone will replace Stewart and Mieszerski, who both were longtime employees of the paper. Stewart was a media critic before moving to the horse racing beat about a year ago (following the retirement of full-time racing writer Bill Christine, who took an early buyout). Mieszerski reported on racing and was a handicapper for the paper, making selections and a graded morning line for the Southern California tracks.
There are no longer any writers working full-time on horse racing at California daily newspapers, with the exception of those employed by Daily Racing Form. There are only a handful of full-time racing writers working at papers in the U.S.
UPDATE: In Wednesday's San Diego County edition of the LA Times, there was no reference to opening day at Del Mar, and no listing of entries or handicapping selections. The LA Times apparently has completely dropped its horse racing coverage. This doesn't bode well for the Breeders' Cup later this year.
By Ray Paulick
Copyright ©2008, The Paulick Report
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