Will the Media Critic Please Turn Out the Lights? The LAT's Tim Rutten has defended against the charge that he's "sanctimonious" by publishing a piece titled "These rules we live by." Oh-kay! More on this later. For now, please read through Rutten's piece and ask yourself if he shows any sign of awareness that he and his distinguished LAT colleagues only have their jobs because they produce a product that people are willing to pay money for? Rutten writes as if there's a constitutional provision that credentialed journalists have lifetime professional tenure no matter how much money his paper loses or makes. Tim! You've had a good gig for 35 years, when your organization had a sweet local monopoly. But isn't the problem that nobody wants to pay to read what you want the LAT to write any more? Not enough people, anyway. How does Rutten propose to actually keep his 900 plus Times colleagues employed in a world where newspapers are losing readers and ads with stunning rapidity--other than the blind faith that somehow if new owners make a massive "investment" in journalists like Tim Rutten people will suddenly want to read them? [He obviously wants a local billionaire like Eli Broad to buy the paper and run it as a semi-charity--ed That's a way bigger threat to journalistic fearlessness than a guest editor! Broad will not be a guest.] 7:29 P.M. link
ABC's once-indispensable The Note appears to have collapsed. ... I want my money back! Oh, wait. It was free. ... 4:14 P.M.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
This audio of Katie Couric's questions to the Edwards'--with their answers excised--would make a great soundtrack for a piece of conceptual art. It certainly makes you want to throttle Katie Couric. ... [via Drudge ]10:49 P.M.
The Universal HuffPo "most popular" hed:
Never needs changing. Like a fluorescent bulb! ... 5:48 P.M.
Resigned editorial page editor Andres Martinez says the paper's newly-arrived editor and publisher
caved to a disgruntled newsroom that is annoyed at [the paper's owners in] Chicago, annoyed at them and annoyed at the autonomy of the opinion pages.
The newsroom unrest, Martinez says, is partly "ideological" (the news pages presumably being more conventionally liberal than his editorial page), partly "a matter of bureaucratic culture," and
some of it a personnel matter (there are some embittered former editorial board members that Kinsley and Carroll sent off to the newsroom). "
Michael Kinsley, former LAT opinon czar who hired Martinez, also blasts "newsroom busybodies," but simulataneously chides Martinez for making a fuss about whether "a news editor once asked him to consider running an editorial in connection with some news-side series ..."
This Week's L.A.T. editor** Jim O'Shea disagrees with all of the above, saying the accusers who made a fuss about Martinez's alleged conflict-of-interest are "people with a passion for the news and this newspaper."
In steps the L.A.T.'s own Tim Cavanaughon the paper's opinion blog to .. side against editor O'Shea! Cavanaugh says
Mystery #1: Who are these "holier-than-thou" newsroom twits? We don't have to take that wild a guess--Martinez actually names two LAT veterans:
I'm guessing the Henry Weinsteins and Tim Ruttens of the world will continue to conjure up the magical words "Staples Center" to wail against any innovation at the paper ...
Mystery #2: Why anyone good would be lured into coming to work for this paper now. Want to be Mayor of Ramadi? ...
The big winner: David Geffen and Ron Burkle, who didn't buy the Times and don't have to deal with these people. ...
Conclusion that's now clearer than ever: Blogger John Gabree notes that you need a strong local paper to have a strong local political culture. Los Angeles has neither. The Times was making progress under Dean Baquet. But the best thing it could do for the city now is to simply disappear, instantaneously if possible, and open up space for decent alternatives to operate without the legacy cost of 900 tantrum-prone staffers of variable abilities. ...
** P.S.: It's not clear why the Times would need to recruit "guest editors"--they already more or less have them! In a relatively short period they've run through John Carroll and Dean Baquet and wound up with O'Shea, who in turn doesn't look like a promising candidate for extended editorial tenure after helping co-produce this week's humiliating events. ..