Patterico's Pontifications

2/24/2009

L.A. Times to Keep California Section — On Sunday Only

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 10:58 pm

It’s a slight change from the original plan to kill it entirely.

I think this is an exclusive. I feel like Kevin Roderick, with the inside scoop and the thing. Here’s the memo from California editor David Lauter:

From: Lauter, David
Subject: Switching to the A section — an update

Greetings all,

Next week, our local, regional and state coverage will move into the A section six days a week. Here’s a rundown on what will happen, what I expect will change in our current coverage and what I hope will not change. Here are the main points you’ll want to know:

1. We will continue to have a California section in the Sunday paper. That’s a change from the original plans. The look and set up of the section will be almost identical to our current Sunday section altho the page numbering will be different. (It will be handled on the presses as the second half of the A section, so the page numbers will reflect that.)

2. Our columnists will run on page A-2 seven days a week. (The current quotes box will go away, and the For The Record box will move to A-4.)

3. The A section will expand to accommodate the California report. We’ll be taking the number of pages now in A plus the number in B and producing an A section with the combined page count. Our space will remain about the same as it currently is. But because the run of ads in the front of the A section differs from the run in B, the space will be configured differently. The California report will begin on A-3 (except on Sundays), and depending on how the ads fall in the section, it could run from A-3 to A-10 or 11. During the early part of the week, we can generally expect a fair amount of open space for display. Later in the week, the A section tends to have more ads, so the space will be more often broken up. Most days, we will not have color on A-3, but we will have color on some of the pages further inside.

4. We no longer will zone local coverage. That means some stories that currently would run only in Orange County will now appear in the full run. We’re not going to back away from covering significant news from Orange County, which makes up roughly one-fifth of the population of our circulation area. But in a non-zoned section, we will have to be more selective about which stories appear in print. Already, we run some stories on the web only– from OC and from LA. That number likely will go up somewhat.

What does this mean for all of you and how you do your jobs?

First, let’s talk about what will not change. We’re still going to have the same mission: to be Southern California’s best and most reliable source of news on the subjects of greatest importance to our state and region. And because we’re still going to have roughly the same space to carry out that mission, our basic story mix will not change hugely. It’s vitally important that as our section configuration changes, we not lose sight of our priorities for good coverage. I want people to stay focused on the significant stories, the ones that really have impact on the communities we cover. In unsettled times, it’s easy for people to react by keeping their heads down and sticking to the routine. But if you keep your head down, you’ll miss what’s really going on. Don’t let that happen.

Overall, the new configuration will nudge us toward slightly fewer features and somewhat higher number of news stories, but we’re still going to want both. Currently, we try to have a mix of news and features on B-1. In the new configuration, we’ll still have a mix of stories, but the mix will be through the entire section, not on one page.

A-3 should be primarily a place for news — both breaking news and enterprise. We want people to open the section and see coverage that gives a sense of urgency. We’ll generally want to put three news stories on A-3. The sort of features that we currently look for as B-1 centerpieces — softer stories with good photos that convey a sense of life in southern California — will still be in demand, but in order to provide decent display of the photos, we’ll generally want to put them on a page with color and good display space. That will often mean running them further back in the section. We’re working with our colleagues on the design staff to find ways to guide readers to those stories so that they don’t get lost in the section.

I know many reporters are worried that moving to the A section will mean that every story has to be shorter. Some stories will, but not every story. Right now, we usually have flexibility in the B section because we have relatively open space. By contrast, the front of the A section tends to have a significant number of ads. That’s a good thing, but it means stories often will have to fit specific spaces on a page and will have to run at a fixed length. If we want to have three stories on A-3 — and we do — one of those stories will have to be in the 12-15 inch range. If we have a page with a 20 inch hole on it, the story on that page will have come in at no more than 20. We’ll try to make page assignments early in the day so that reporters know how much room they have. In turn, tho, I’ll expect reporters and editors to pay attention to the lengths on the budget and deliver what’s promised.

On the other side of the ledger, there will be times when a strong piece of news enterprise runs on A-3 simply because A-1 is full. In a case like that, we’re not going to arbitrarily cut the story in half simply to make it fit. We will have some flexibility to jump stories from A-3. We can run a lower story count on A-3 when that’s needed, and as I noted above, we will have display space inside the section for good stories with strong photography.

In sum, the new lineup that arrives next week will require some changes in our daily routines, requiring earlier budgeting of stories, earlier decisions on lengths and some changes in our story mix. But those changes will be at the margins. The core of what we aspire to — delivering important, high-impact journalism that enlightens and fascinates our readers and enriches our community — won’t change unless we let it. As always, I’m available if anyone wants to discuss all this further.

Best,
David

Another One Bites May Bite The Dust

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:53 pm

This time it’s San Francisco:

The Hearst Corp. today announced an effort to reverse the deepening operating losses of its San Francisco Chronicle by seeking near-term cost savings that would include “significant” cuts to both union and non-union staff.

In a posted statement, Hearst said if the savings cannot be accomplished “quickly” the company will seek a buyer, and if none comes forward, it will close the Chronicle.

I always end posts about the death of newspapers by saying that we seem to be watching death in slow motion. But man, it sure seems to be speeding up, doesn’t it?

(Via L.A. Observed.)

Gavin Newsom: Bottled Water for Me, But Not for Thee

Filed under: Buffoons — Patterico @ 8:31 pm

The latest in a seemingly endless parade of sanctimonious lefties who lecture you not to do that which they secretly do themselves:

This week, the City Insider spotted an almost empty case of bottled water in the back of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s hybrid sport utility vehicle as it was parked in front of City Hall. At least one full bottle of Crystal Geyser Alpine Spring Water remained under the plastic covering.

This from the mayor who in June 2007 issued an executive order directing city government to no longer purchase bottled water, saying the containers clog landfills while the city owns a pristine reservoir in the Sierra Nevada that produces some of the country’s best-rated tap water.

Newsom, a former restaurateur, last year called on the restaurant industry to stop selling bottled water to customers and start serving local tap water instead.

To hear Newsom’s spokesman talk, you’d think the stuff was crack cocaine. He’s not proud of it — but he slips sometimes! And the mostly used stash in his trunk belongs to someone else, man!

The mayor sometimes slips, said his spokesman, Nathan Ballard. But in this case, the bottled water belonged to the mayor’s security detail and wasn’t purchased with city funds, Ballard said.

“The mayor will be the first to admit that he occasionally indulges in bottled water,” Ballard said. “It’s not something he’s proud of.”

I think it’s time we recognized that we are losing the war on bottled water.

Thanks to CQM.

Video: Olbermann Says “Oh God” As Jindal Walks Out (UPDATE: Or Was It Matthews?)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:07 pm

Nope, I’m not kidding:

I’ve heard a couple of people claim it could be a producer, but I believe it’s clearly Olbermann. You can hear a cameraman laughing in the background.

UPDATE: Goldfarb says it’s Chris Matthews. I continue to maintain it’s Olbermann.

UPDATE x2: TVNewser claims it was really Matthews, according to sources. If TVNewser said it, it must be true! I learned from the Huffington Post to re-report anything TVNewser says without checking.

UPDATE x3: AP is also saying Matthews. Weird. It really didn’t sound like him to me.

Open Thread: Obama Speech

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:11 pm

From Allahpundit’s Twitter feed:

Question: How many shots of JD are needed to make this tolerable? Answer: Evidently more than six.

Heh.

Your thoughts?

Quote of the Day

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:43 am

Yeah, it’s early. I’m nevertheless awarding the honor to this protest of Obama’s mortgage bailout plan:

We hold this policy to be unfair and unjust as it rewards those who do not pay their mortgages, and punishes those who work each month to pay theirs.

Via Tom Maguire.

Murdoch Apologizes for Non-Racist Cartoon

Filed under: Media Bias,Race — Patterico @ 6:57 am

Rupert Murdoch legitimizes Al Sharpton’s nonsense:

Last week, we made a mistake. We ran a cartoon that offended many people. Today I want to personally apologize to any reader who felt offended, and even insulted.

Over the past couple of days, I have spoken to a number of people and I now better understand the hurt this cartoon has caused. At the same time, I have had conversations with Post editors about the situation and I can assure you – without a doubt – that the only intent of that cartoon was to mock a badly written piece of legislation. It was not meant to be racist, but unfortunately, it was interpreted by many as such.

We all hold the readers of the New York Post in high regard and I promise you that we will seek to be more attuned to the sensitivities of our community.

Next time maybe they’ll apologize pre-emptively, as the Washington Post did for this illustration:

Michelle Malkin explains that this was “an illustration accompanying a humor column by Gene Weingarten titled ‘Monkey Business’ about a study that reported on how women were aroused at the sight of bonobo apes mating.”

Racists.

Yeah, we’re a nation of cowards all right. But it’s not because we’re not talking about race enough.


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