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Daily Pilot leader resigns

Tom Johnson, Pilot publisher and general manager of Times Community News, states plan to step down Friday.

July 29, 2008|By Michael Miller

Tom Johnson, the publisher of the Daily Pilot for 15 years and a longtime supporter of charities and organizations around Newport-Mesa, announced his resignation from the company Tuesday.

Johnson joined the Daily Pilot as an associate publisher in 1991 and took over as publisher two years later. At the time of his resignation, he served as publisher of the Daily Pilot and general manager of Times Community News, which publishes six other community papers around Southern California.

In a written statement to staffers, Johnson said he disagreed with the direction in which the company was headed. Johnson’s resignation came as the company laid off more employees Tuesday.

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In an interview later Tuesday, Johnson said the last 15 years had been a treasured time in his life, as the Daily Pilot moved from a struggling paper to an award-winning publication that was active in a number of community functions.

“Without a doubt, there’s two things I’ll miss,” he said. “One is the community involvement. The people in Newport-Mesa never cease to amaze me. When we wrote something or when the community needed something, they would respond. That was really special to me.

“And the other was just the employees at the newspaper. I was very fortunate to work with a lot of great people over time.

“They made it fun coming in to work every day, and it’s going to be hard to replace that.”

During his tenure as publisher, Johnson made himself visible by participating in the Hoag Hospital Foundation, the Orange Coast College Foundation, the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and other groups. He also frequently contributed columns to the Daily Pilot.

John O’Loughlin, the president of Targeted Media for the Los Angeles Times, said in a statement that the company was dedicated to keeping the Times Community News, or TCN, publications a major part of its product.

“While I fully understand and empathize with the unsettling feeling that can come with such change...the one thing that does not and cannot change is your relentless focus on the readers, advertisers and communities that the TCN titles serve,” O’Loughlin wrote.

Johnson said he has no plans to retire and would seek another job as soon as he left Times Community News.

“I’ve got a big office to clean out,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of great memories in there from 17 years.”


MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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