Whistleblower hotline: (213) 785-6098

Friday, March 30, 2007

Answer to a Meme:Fixing the Times?

David Markland at Metroblogging Los Angeles calls us out and asks for an answer to the following question:

If you were suddenly appointed an all powering helm of the L.A. Times, how would you manage it? Who would you hire to manage the different sections? Any other fundamental changes?

Newspapers are going the way of the buggy whip. They better adapt quick. Still, its going to be some time before people give up newsprint entirely.

The website should be overloaded with regularly updated content. When I want to know something, the Times website should always satisfy it. And why not design the home page to look like the front page of a newspaper. You can click on any story to be taken to a full page view of the article. This would be easier and more intuitive to navigate than a bunch of links all over the page. Reading the paper online should be a virtual version of the real thing.

With regard to the fishwrap, the Times needs to buck pretense & tradition and print in a tabloid format. Why? Where is the one place you want news but usually don't have internet access? The toilet. A tabloid style would be easier to hold while you're sitting on the pot. Or, at least defer to your male readers and produce a joint sports and business tabloid.

With regard to content, cut down on the entertainment and shi shi lifestyle features (not everyone in LA drives a BMW and lives at Starbucks) and beef up the local political reporting and commentary.

Finally, hire every local blogger in town (even WWG) as contributing editors.


Blogger Walter Moore said:

The website -- and paper itself, if delivered to homes -- should also be customizeable. (That might be a word.) You should get to have the sections or types of stories that matter to you on top.

Also, if an article depends at all on a press release, the article should include a link to same.

And reporters should require support for assertions, e.g., "due to budget constraints, not enough police were hired" would not fly without a statement as to what "the budget" is.

I guess that just boils down to smarter reporters, and no "press release journalism" -- l like that's ever going to happen in this town!

Also, when a person is quoted or identified as an expert -- such as "chief economist, Jack Keyser," a link to that person's actual qualifications should be included. Ditto all the phony front organizations for which they work.

And free coffee...

March 29, 2007 10:41 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

1.) Restrain crazed representatives in the field. As I passed an LAT table at an outdoor event, a young man asked me to subscribe to a special deal. I said that's okay, I already subscribe. He said I am passing up a great deal. I repeated my statement. He said I should cancel my subscription, start getting it on Sundays only (to save money) and then resubscibe when the new service ran out. I ran away from this very crazy person fast.

2.) Shut off the calling machine thats attacking me. I ordered a limited subscription for my dear mother, and now I get calls daily from a machine that tells me I've subscribed. I know that. It's insane that the LAT phone-calling-machine thinks I don't know that. Why does it keep calling me over and over to tell me I subscribed?

3.) Don't cancel the Weekly TV Times.

March 30, 2007 9:57 AM  

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