Tribune and Sam Zell: Good riddance

That popping sound you hear issuing from newsrooms around the country? It's the sound of thousands of champagne bottles being opened to toast the news that Sam Zell may be about to lose control of Tribune Co. (TRBCQ).

The crass, flashy Chicago real-estate mogul has been the newspaper industry's most despised villain since he took control of Tribune, the conglomerate whose holdings include the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and numerous other dailies and TV stations, in December 2007. Sure, Arianna Huffington, Craig Newmark and Google (GOOG) have all been accused by turns of destroying journalism. But none can compare to Zell, who's made it clear he thinks newspapers would be better off without all those pesky reporters and editors dragging them down.