Would YOU fire Dean Baquet?

March 29, 2007

Gary Pruitt, McClatchy CEODean Baquet, NYT DC bureau chiefThat was the question that New Yorker columnist Ken Auletta sprang on McClatchy Chief Executive Gary Pruitt on Thursday at a discussion about the future of newspapers hosted by The New Yorker, Conde Nast and the Newhouse journalism school at Syracuse University.

That would have been a softball question for moderator Auletta to get the panel started — if the guy sitting next to Pruitt hadn’t been Dean Baquet, the former Los Angeles Times editor (and current Washington Bureau Chief at The New York Times) who was ousted by parent company Tribune in November for disobeying management’s command that he cut more staff.

Pruitt’s answer, proving he’d make an able fencer:

“I doubt it, but I have no idea. And I really don’t know the circumstances. It would be very difficult to put myself in that position.”

And then:

“We at McClatchy want our editors to stand up when they have to, and assert themselves if they feel that there are issues or problems. We don’t want them to be punished for asserting themselves.”

Is this what they mean by “be careful what you wish for?”

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