This past Friday, after 25 years, writer and editor Steven Mikulan parted ways with LA Weekly over something called “aesthetic differences.” I don’t know what “aesthetic differences” refers to, but blog posts by Kevin Roderick, Sharon Waxman and Marc Cooper all seem to suggest it’s a fancy phrase for a poor management decision. Cooper elaborates:
Mikulan was the last standing writer at the Weekly who could cover the city in any sort of rational way. He was calm and cool professional with a high skill set that ranged from theater reviewing to monitoring and reporting on city and national politics to aptly covering high-profile criminal and celebrity trials.
What he said. In 25 years on staff, Mikulan’s remarkable talents helped shape and elevate the editorial sensibility of the paper. But he also lent his time and energy to a less glorified pursuit – the LA Weekly union. Mikulan served as union president for the last four years, and prior to that as shop steward, working tirelessly on behalf of his fellow members.
Even co-workers like myself who weren’t in the union recognized Mikulan as a champion of the little guy. We often came knocking on his door for council on a work-related issue rather than turn to the less trusted human resources department or management. He always made time for us, no matter how busy he was, and did what he could to help. Undoubtedly his departure will serve as a painful blow not just to the content but the community of the paper.