L.A. Observed quotes an internal memo from editor Jim O’Shea, which says, among other things:
I strongly believe that the perceptions of media bias and arrogance are directly tied to our insular culture. So we are starting to implement several of the recommendations to help us become more open and communicate better with our readers.
Me, I tend to believe that the the perceptions of media bias and arrogance at the L.A. Times are more directly tied to . . . the media bias and arrogance displayed by the L.A. Times.
But I’m all for openness and communication. And so I’m pleased to see this:
We will soon launch a Reader’s Representative page on latimes.com that will feature information useful to our readers. It will include a blog moderated by Jamie Gold and Kent Zelas that will answer reader questions and engage reporters and editors in dealing with their queries and observations. We will also update the staff lists online to include everyone’s email address, office phone number and, ultimately, biographical information. We will improve the online navigation to help readers pass along news tips. Janet Clayton has agreed to stay on in a consulting role to help me develop better outreach to the community.
I have suggested in the past that the paper equip each story with a comments and trackbacks section, like a blog — and, failing that, publish a column from the Readers’ Representative responding to selected reader complaints.
This is something like a combination of my two suggestions (although I had nothing to do with it). I’d still prefer direct comments and trackbacks on each story, but this is better than nothing.
Once it’s up and running, I’ll direct your attention to the Readers’ Representative’s blog. I expect readers of this blog to flood it with feedback.
They may continue to ignore us, but at least your voice can be heard on the paper’s own web site. That’s not a bad start.