Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I cancelled my LA Times Subscription..with sadness

After 15 or so years as an avid reader, I cancelled my L.A. Times print subscription this week. I did this with great sadness. Sure, now I read a lot my news on the Internet, but that wasn't the only reason.
The real truth?
I could no longer stand to watch my favorite newspaper die from a thousand staff (or section) cuts.

Really, the first signs that something was wrong was a few years ago when the the LA Times great Sunday Calendar section was destroyed. No longer was it an impressive magazine like newspaper section that covered everything -- movies, TV and especially music in great detail. I couldn't wait to read it. They turned it into two unsatisfying sections that limited the coverage of everything even movies. Eventually they delegated the popular music coverage to the second section and hardly covered it all. The Sunday Calendar was an event. I couldn't wait to read it.

Now, I could hardly care less. Last week I barely read it at all. Nothing interested me except for an interview or two. I also had to suffer through snobby columns such as the "Smart List." That lame column wouldn't even rated the back section of the old Calendar section. Ridiculous. Sad.

The Times' excellent sports section also took hits. Special events such as the Super Bowl, World Series or NBA Finals no longer received such detailed and extensive coverage. In the past, whole special sections were devoted to these events as with the Olympics.

Still, the writing has remained great with columnists like Bill Plaschke and Mark Heisler (best NBA writer in the country in my opinion) but there is a lot less of it now. Strong writers like J.A. Adande left and now are writing for ESPN.
Who is next?

Even columnist Steve Lopez wrote in a recent column of his pondering taking a buyout and leaving.

The front news sections are much thinner then they used to be. So are the California and Business sections.

These sections are devoid of strong local coverage that used to be its mainstay in years past. I have also experienced this as a publicist. There was a time when the Times was open to covering local businesses and stories. Now, it is much harder, in fact nearly impossible to get southern California clients covered by the Times. Don't know why. I could get some of my local tech clients covered in the New York Times, USA Today, Business Week easier than our hometown paper. Crazy.

Although I realize the value of journalism (as a former print journalist) and the importance of supporting journalists (who will dig out the investigative stories? bloggers? don't think so), I will get my news from the Google News and the L.A. Times Web sites for now.

It is a Brave News World for me for now on.


No comments: