Nov 4, 2009

"It's not your father's LA Times"

Russ Stanton stopped by USC a couple of weeks ago and talked to a graduate journalism class about what's it like being editor of the Los Angeles Times. "It's like flying a 747 with three engines out," he said.

According to a student story about the visit, Stanton told the class that after he became editor he put Times journalists through an Internet boot camp and he touted the Top of the Ticket blog, the Mapping LA project and Brand X as successful innovations under his watch.

"It's not your father's LA Times," he told the students.

Stanton also answered a question about how he dealt with staff morale in the wake of numerous layoffs and buyouts. From the student report:
Executive in Residence and former Washington Editor for McClatchy Newspapers David Westphal asked how Stanton is keeping his employees' morale high despite a large number of layoffs. Stanton admitted it has been difficult, but that he makes an effort to go to lunch with someone from the staff every day in addition to sending daily notes to writers after well-reported stories. He also said he highlights the paper's strengths: foreign, entertainment and sport coverage.

"As we've been forced to get smaller, I've tried to reinforce the reasons why I love working there," he said.
Westphal wrote his own account of the visit, noting that Stanton sees the Guardian as a good model for how to handle online news and has put his faith in the e-reader to save the modern newspaper business.

Coincidentally, the LA Times has decided to partner with USC on a series of polls in the run-up to the next year's midterm elections, LA Observed reports. The Times killed its in-house polling unit last year.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aside from losing direction financially, it appears that Los Angeles is losing interest with the newspaper. A sad story from a once proud institution. Can anyone save her?