Patterico's Pontifications

11/30/2009

Readers’ Rep Jamie Gold Out at the L.A. Times

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:10 pm

The memo from editor Russ Stanton says they’re accepting applications!

He sets forth the qualifications needed, which include:

Highly organized and able to set priorities in a fast-paced environment, keeping in mind the overall goal of the office: to act as a voice for our readers and to help hold us accountable to our professional standards.

If you’re laughing, you must be a regular reader.

I don’t have anything personal against Ms. Gold — and I never really saw it as her fault that she often didn’t act as a voice for readers, but rather for the newspaper. This sort of thing is a decision made at levels much higher than her — and it isn’t going to change any time soon.

Thanks to several readers.

P.S. I still have a few letters to write about James Rainey’s latest column. Where do I send them now??

22 Responses to “Readers’ Rep Jamie Gold Out at the L.A. Times”

  1. to act as a voice for our readers and to help hold us accountable to our professional standards.

    Aside from the obvious irony of the statement, it’s even more so when one scrolls through the Reader’s Rep pages: if you want to find anything of substance where the Readers Rep remotely attempted to hold any accountable to their professional standards, one has to go all the way back to July 31, to find a substantive matter wherein a reader questioned the LAT partisanship re Sotomayor.

    Anything after that date is just fluff: change of editors, new online layout of the paper, staffing matters, navigation through website, entertainment issues.

    Before July 31, one had to go all the way back to June 11, when readers made noise about the Veteran’s Day coverage, or lack thereof.

    I don’t see anyone having acted as a voice for the reader, nor holding anyone accountable to professional standards (after all, how can we ever forget the gross rationalization for breaking their own LAT publishing standards to permit the vile, despicable Tony Snow comments). Maybe I missed it…

    Dana (e9ba20)

  2. If they haven’t already contacts Patterico to attempt to work out some way for him to oversee this office, even as a part time position, then I don’t see how they are serious about this position being anything more than , as Anita Busch says, a liability shield.

    Dustin (cf255c)

  3. Hell, Pat, apply.

    Even for shits and giggles.

    For you.

    For them.

    You may even get an editor or two to decorate his (her?) monitor with coffee just for applying.

    Dr. K (adb7ba)

  4. Highly organized and able to set priorities in a fast-paced environment, keeping in mind the overall goal of the office: to act as a voice for our readers and to help hold us accountable to our professional standards.

    The LAT’s “professional standards” are what’s wrong with the propaganda rag newspaper.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  5. Ten years is actually a pretty long time for a reader’s rep, at any paper. And at a paper like the LA Times, I wonder she stood it for so long.

    nk (df76d4)

  6. Bradley, as a professional newsman, do you believe that any Reader’s Rep at any major metropolitan newspaper would receive only 2 reader complaints of substance since June, requiring the voice of that Reader’s Rep?

    (What of all the Patterico readers who faithfully email and challenge and/or air the LAT dirty laundry and wait for an explanation and/or correction…delete, delete, delete???)

    Dana (e9ba20)

  7. Dana,
    Bradley, as a professional newsman, do you believe that any Reader’s Rep at any major metropolitan newspaper would receive only 2 reader complaints of substance since June, requiring the voice of that Reader’s Rep?

    Not believable in the slightest. The position is a farce. Perhaps after 10 years Jamie Gold couldn’t stand the farce anymore.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  8. Thank God I’m not so desperate for work that I feel inclined to apply for this.

    Patterico (688f64)

  9. Dana,
    I’ll add that my editor regularly gets calls from readers with complaints of substance*, and we are a much smaller paper. So the idea that months could pass with just two substantive complaints at the LAT makes me snort in disbelief.

    *Yes, readers can talk directly to our editor; he believes it’s part of his job to listen to readers who have a concern.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  10. Bradley, while I’m sure Ms. Gold’s hands are were tied and she was given only so much leash to actually do the job, it does remind me a bit of the WaPo and Ana Marie Cox reviewing books… that she didn’t have to actually read.

    They really believe we don’t notice.

    Dana (e9ba20)

  11. I’m pretty sure you could handle the job.
    Just auto generate random responses denying any wrong…

    “no way, that was the Daily Breeze”
    “an old friend will reappear in your life. Your lucky numbers are 2,7,14,22,31. as to your complaint? NFW”

    SteveG (97b6b9)

  12. She is leaving the Times December 31. Invite her to guest blog starting January 1. Think how much fun she will have telling her colleagues what she will be doing in 2010.

    TomHynes (2e563b)

  13. Paul Krugman could do the job, he has accountability experience from his Enron days.

    Job description: meet once a month in a coffee shop with all our readers and hear their concerns. Buy both of them a coffee too.

    ras (1d003b)

  14. “to help hold us accountable to our professional standards”

    Her next job involves banging her head against the wall continuously for 8 hours. Easier than the above gig.

    Patricia (b05e7f)

  15. Best of luck to Ms. Gold, but for the life of me I could never figure out exactly what it was that she did. It seemed that she was low profile enough that she must not have had a whole lot to do, which is laughable considering the number of complaints about the paper’s malfeasance that she must have received. The two or three times that I wrote her to ask about a certain issue I would receive a very perfunctory reply back, but very little if anything would come from the matter. Did they post this as a part-time job requiring 3-5 hours per week?

    JVW (0fe413)

  16. Personally, I’ve always thought Ms Gold was a shallow, biased hack, and a perfect example of the self-reverential sickness that’s undermining newspaper.

    But I bet whoever Stanton hires to take her place will have readers missing her.

    Consider some fine points of his desired quals for her replacement:

    The successful candidate should be:

    Passionate about The Times’ role in upholding the tenets of good journalism.

    Hoo hoo haa haa ha haa haaa… like we would even know good journalism if we saw it.

    Knowledgeable about which inquiries are worth pursuing and what action should be taken.

    Translation: able to blow off substantive complaints about biased, fabricated and dishonest reporting (as Jamie G blew off complaints about Chuck Phillips and Jim Rainey), and fill the column with fluff instead, to maintain our air of infallibility. Also, able to operate a dustbin, to which the taking of reader complaints will be your primary duty.

    This includes the ability to recognize situations in which it will be necessary to independently investigate questions of accuracy and fairness in our news coverage.

    Translation: you will be expected to dive on reader grenades to cover our insiders’ deficiencies.

    Able to communicate effectively and diplomatically with readers, editors, reporters and others in multiple departments within The Times.

    Translation: you’d best be good at groveling. To us. You can take it out on the readers, though.

    Comfortable writing regularly for the Readers’ Representative Journal on latimes.com, acting as an intermediary in the ongoing conversation between readers and journalists

    Translation: You’re the blocking position that keeps the smelly, plebeian readers from ever getting near our professional staff, capiche?

    Highly organized and able to set priorities in a fast-paced environment, keeping in mind the overall goal of the office: to act as a voice for our readers and to help hold us accountable to our professional standards.

    Translation: Covering editors’ and reporters’ butts and deep-sixing reader complaints are the priorities you need to be able to set. Also, hold us accountable to our standards — nobody else’s. (That’s the in-joke! Our standards are solid as Gumby).

    About the only question left is: will this be of interest to historians 100 years from now — or will even the obscurest historian not care?

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (b9aa73)

  17. I’ve never really understood the whole ombudsman game in the printed press. And I say that as a journalist (I swear, I have the degree and everything).

    The only way it would really work is to “hire” an independent, “objective” commentator with no compensation, who would be allowed to publish his or her opinion on the newspaper’s conduct without editing or embellishment.

    And that, simply, would be impossible.

    Ag80 (3d1543)

  18. Where do I apply. I promise to be Dilbert to the pointy haired bosses.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  19. This is what I posted to the Times article:

    Is there an online application? I’d like to apply to be the ombudsman in the mold of Pat Riley when he was at the OC Register. You can ask Jean O. Pasco about how honest he was.

    This is if you are serious about a serious and good Ombud, otherwise, just employ one of Hiltzik’s sock puppets.

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  20. Hey, I actually got an answer:

    “Yes, the editor is considering applications from all those interested in applying.

    Thanks for asking,

    Jamie Gold

    Readers’ representative”

    PCD (1d8b6d)

  21. I nominate Brother Bradley, as the AP will certainly attest to his ability to keep them in line.

    JD (d55760)

  22. Don’t need no readers rep if you ain’t got no readers.

    Kevin Stafford (5d18a5)


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