Jan 7, 2009

Cooper the Prosector

Marc Cooper details what's gone wrong at the L.A. Weekly. Some of it might sound familiar to other Southland journalists.

A short excerpt:
Perhaps the most iconic moment in the Weekly’s descent was the forced move last year from its birthplace town of Hollywood to a sterile warehouse-like building next to a 405 off-ramp in Culver City. This would be tantamount to moving the New York Times across the river to Hoboken. I'm no softie on the counter-culture, but the uprooting of the paper from its nest on Sunset Boulevard was a clear sign from management that it had absolutely no interest in the ethos, tradition or soul of the paper. It had become nothing more than a widget.

The results of all this? Fairly catastrophic, I would say. And that’s with the full-on debacle yet to come. The L.A. Weekly press run is currently down about 30% or more from its peak of 210,000. That means they can't even give away as many copies as in the past. The weekly number of printed pages has fallen to just above 100 when in the past it hovered at and beyond 200 (once even touching 352 pages). Even special editions, ones that carry years of tradition and loyalty, like the recent restaurant edition, are but shadows of the past. One of the most savvy of long-time New Times watchers once told me -- years ago-- "the guys who run these newspapers run them like they already know the shut-down date." It seems they now might finally get their wish.

1 comment:

Simon Owens said...

Brilliant piece, rarely do I come across blogging that good.