The death of the Times

I dread reading LA Observed in the morning. Not because it’s not a great blog. It is. So great that every morning I fear reading another blow to the LA Times. Sure enough, now the  TImes is losing it’s regional/California section, and 70 more jobs are going out the window.

It feels like it’s a never-ending stream of doom and disaster for that paper. I’m a naturally optimistic person, but even I know that this is a devastating strike to the paper.

news, politics

The line outside the Times

It’s day three now, and the line outside the LA Times won’t let up.

by Spencer Weiner, LA Times
by Spencer Weiner, LA Times

As much as I’d like to believe these people are buying dozens of papers and plaques for their own pride in this monumental moment, EBAY tells me differently.

People are selling them.

And while I get that America was built on entrepreneurs and go-getters, there’s something kind of horrifying about this get-rich-quick scheme going on under my nose. I can’t quite explain it, and I admit that it doesn’t make sense that this annoys me, but all I know is that it does.

When the sales ladies across the hall are yelling about how one plaque went for $500 (I think they cost $10 downstairs), I get annoyed. I think it’s because–while this moments is HUGE–those papers won’t be worth anything in a decade.

I like to think that people are buying up the paper in bulk because they want a historical record of this moment, but I have a feeling most just want some extra cash in their pockets.

See comprehensive article here.


News about the news

It’s strange to be in the Times building, working at the Times, and see on LA Observed that they are planning to lay off another 75 editorial positions. While I will be moving on to something else in a week,  so the layoffs don’t really affect me, it’s so strange to be existing in this amazing, historical building… but be the last to hear the news about the news.

I feel bad for this place. The morale is low, needless to say.

It was only a couple of months ago that there were hundreds of layoffs. And now, again.

I’m young and new to the world of journalism, but after walking these halls (lined with historical papers from decades ago), I’m filled with a certain sadness at the Times. I barely new it. And I’ll never know it as it once was.


Criticism of the Critic

The LA Times had an interesting piece on film criticism in their paper today. They let their film critics write about any regrets they’ve ever had about a film they reviewed.

I love film criticism. In a perfect world, I could see movies and write about them everyday (if it would pay the bills). But it is, in my opinion, one of the toughest jobs in writing because you put a part of yourself out there.

I took a reviewing class with Kenneth Turan while I was at USC. It was probably my favorite class of all. Since he is the best film critic at the Times, I expected Kenneth to be a man of intolerable ego, and harsh–well–criticism. What I found was a man confident in his craft, and kind with his teaching. I learned then that the people who are best at what they do don’t need to walk around with a puffed up chest or a thick set of armour.

His article today really makes clear the point and process of criticism. There should be no regret if you are true to your own feelings. Here’s a bit of his article. Find the whole piece here.

“To pretend either to like it or that I didn’t really have an opinion, to pretend in effect that I was someone else to save face and be one of the gang, was simply unacceptable. Criticism is a lonely job, and in the final analysis, either you’re a gang of one or you’re nothing at all.”