Monday, November 27, 2006

Bloated and oblivious

Here's a perspective you don't read much in your MSM publications: the view that the L.A. Times newsroom is, indeed, "bloated and chronically oblivious to the needs of its customers."

Philip Terzian is books and arts editor at The Weekly Standard, a one-time L.A. Times reporter and (on the evidence of this one column) a political conservative who's right at home in that publication; his analysis is worth your consideration independently of its modest political slant. He's named some issues that too often go unspoken in these debates, and God knows we need to be as clearheaded and agnostic as possible in searching for solutions.

Here's an observation that belongs on your radar in pondering the future:

A half-century after the death of afternoon newspapers, and one decade into the Internet, we may locate the future of daily print journalism roughly halfway between the Times and the Tribune: leaner products, appealing to older, more affluent readers, emphasizing local news but with quality national and foreign coverage, and culture and features, to prevent a wholesale exodus to the Internet.

And here's another, somewhat more acerbic sample:

... while it may be poignant to read about the editor of the Times standing up to those profit-minded meanies in Chicago, the Tribune Company is on to something. If the long-term survival of newspapers is at stake, it will not be secured by fat and happy newsrooms, or writers and editors incessantly addressing themselves to other writers and editors.
–Howard Weaver

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