Tomorrow, I will publish Part One of my Year-End Review of the L.A. Times. (I have decided to split the review into two parts, since there’s just too much material for one post.) By the time you’re done, you’ll be tempted to ask: does this paper ever do anything right?
Of course, it’s only fair to note some of the good things the paper did this year. So I have decided to put them in a separate post, and preempt critics who say I have only bad things to say, by saying the good things first, here.
Here are some of the good things that I noticed this year in the L.A. Times:
The paper’s practice of posting stories on the internet before they underwent final editing meant that alert readers could sometimes see how an editor made a story better and less biased. One example is here.
Roy Rivenburg wrote a balanced article about gay marriage.
Despite the editors’ clear support for Proposition 66, the paper broke an important story about the identity and motives of the principal financial backer of the measure.
When Tom Ridge was attacked for allegedly hiding the fact that he had elevated the terror threat level based on old (albeit newly acquired) information, he said that he had disclosed the age of the intelligence to the news media. And indeed he had — but only the L.A. Times appears to have reported that fact.
The paper ran a surprisingly balanced profile of John O’Neill, the main figure behind the Swift Vet organization. Too bad it was on Page A10, while all the hit pieces on the Vets were given far more prominence.
The paper ran a fantastic series on King/Drew Hospital in Los Angeles. The series took Maxine Waters to task (among several others) for her actions in covering up the travesty. The paper soon followed up the series with an excellent expose of Waters’s habit of helping people with financial ties to family members.
Naturally, there’s much more that I probably missed. Just as I can’t possibly catch all of the paper’s errors and distortions, neither can I document all the good things the paper does.
I think the paper has some good people working for it. My deepest suspicions are reserved for the top editors with an agenda, and some of lower-level folks, including reporters and copy editors, who share that agenda. But there are people on the paper who are doing their best to put out a good product, and we shouldn’t forget that.
P.S. I’m not going soft. Wait until tomorrow . . .