In Section B of the print edition of the Los Angeles Times today is a list of all the military deaths in the country. Section B is called the “California” section — yet the paper finds space in that section to list 34 deaths of military personnel from Indiana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah, and other states across the country. The paper does this every week.
Meanwhile, in the same Los Angeles Times, victims of violence in Compton and other parts of South Los Angeles often don’t even get mentioned in the print edition of the paper — even though these deaths are happening locally, right under the editors’ noses. The online-only Homicide Report lists 16 people killed since May 29 — in Los Angeles alone. They’re not all gang members, either — for example, Quanisha Pitts was a 17-year-old girl out on a date.
The report of her death appears only in the online-only Homicide Report. Quanisha Pitts’s story didn’t merit a single word in the “California section.” And that is common for deaths in South Los Angeles — a place that, last time I checked, is in “California.” What’s more, it’s in “Los Angeles,” which I believe is the area theoretically covered by the “Los Angeles” Times.
Both military deaths in Iraq and murders in Los Angeles are important. Both are symptomatic of a larger and newsworthy problem.
But only one set of deaths is getting any prominence in the Los Angeles paper — and it’s not the one most relevant to Los Angeles.
Make of that what you will.
P.S. Thanks to Michael Connelly’s character Harry Bosch for the title of the post.