Friday, January 30, 2009

More Bad News At The Los Angeles Times


ANOTHER BAD LOCAL MEDIA NEWS DAY
Another day, another chunk of bad news for the local news media. Today, in his column on the LAObserved blog, author Kevin Roderick gave us this entry, telling us about more cuts coming at the Los Angeles Times. It seems like every day there is more bad news about that once-proud
newspaper. This time it's another 300 souls being tossed overboard from that sinking ship.

ZELL - RHYMES WITH...
Ever since the Elf From Hell, Sam Zell, bought The Tribune Company just about a year ago not a week passes when some kind of catastrophic news doesn't emerge from that withering empire.

DRUM BEAT OF DEATH
Week after week we read about reporte
rs being axed, inexplicable format changes and hear the steady drum beat of failure that is marking the death knell of not only The Times, but most print news outlets around the country.

OPERATING WITH HALF STAFF
Of course, the cuts at the Times are felt closer to home at the Daily Pilot. The Times is now operating with 525 staff members in the news room - down from 1,200 just over a year ago. Knowing that, the decline in the quality of their product and subsequent abandonment by subscribers comes as no surprise. Similarly, the Daily Pilot has seen their staffing slashed over the past year - much of it at the top of the organization.

GOOD GUYS, TRYING HARD

I know Brady Rhoades and Paul Anderson, the men left in charge after first pu
blisher Tom Johnson, then Director of News and Online Tony Dodero departed. Both are fine, competent newsmen who care about providing the best, most accurate and timely news product they can. Despite the potshots taken at them by one local blogger with a personal agenda, they and their relatively young staff do a good job of gathering and reporting the news. But, as is always the case in under-staffed organizations, mistakes happen, stories are missed and reader confidence is shaken.

I don't want the Daily Pilot to fail. It, in one form or another, has been our newspaper of record for a century. We need it.

HOW MANY DAILY PILOT JOBS ARE IN JEOPARDY?
I found myself wondering, as I read Kevin Roderick's essay, just how many
of those 300 jobs soon to be slashed from the Los Angeles Times will, in fact, be plucked from the ranks of the Daily Pilot and her sister newspapers in the Times Community News group. None, I hope.

WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?!

In the meantime, like guys riding backward on a horse, the boneheads in charge of The Times announced that the venerable California section will be discontinued as a separate section and will be folded into their "A" section. Someone needs to remind those guys that the news we want to read is LOCAL news, and don't particularly want to wade through their faltering attempts at national and international news to find it.


LIKE A DYING FRIEND
Lately, when I pick up any of our local newspapers, I get the feeling that I'm holding the hand of a dying friend - something I know just a little bit about. I want them to find a miraculous cure to bring them back. I do not want to attend their funerals...

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