My name is Kevin Roderick. I am an author, a journalist, an Angeleno and wear assorted other labels. I suppose I'm also now a blogger.
This will be a place where I file occasional tidbits, observations and hearsay about Los Angeles. The emphasis will be on subjects I want to read and talk about and haven't yet found satisfying sources for on the Web.
News media will be a key topic. I probably wouldn't do this at all if there was something like Jim Romenesko's Media News for Los Angeles. My site can't fill that role -- it's too time-consuming and too limiting -- but if I learn something about the local media that interests me, I'll pass it along. (Yes, that is a call for you to send me stuff. If it's fair, accurate and interesting, I might use it.)
Things to do with Los Angeles culture and history will also make up many of the postings. I was born and grew up in L.A., I write books and articles about Los Angeles and occasionally I speak about the city. Where else this may ramble, we'll just have to see.
Like anyone, I begin this with a bunch of predispositions and biases. I also come with a truck load of conflicts of interest. I write frequently for Los Angeles magazine and for national publications (recent writings are here). I was a staff writer and senior editor at the L.A. Times for 20 years, and a Times division publishes my books. Among other things, this means I have no illusions about the paper's strengths and weaknesses. I'll offer my honest and independent take when it's relevant and interesting.
I also come into this as a somewhat reluctant blogger. It's not from any unfamiliarity with the online fray. I joined The Well online service in the early 1990s (and mostly lurked) then migrated to the Web when Netscape came along. After my first book was published I launched a website on San Fernando Valley history and last year ran a sort-of blog there that followed the campaign over Valley secession. I was also the Los Angeles bureau chief for The Industry Standard, the short-lived news magazine that covered the phenomenon we quaintly called The Internet Economy.
So L.A. Observed is a logical step in my online evolution, but I'm not a New Media chauvinist. I value offline sources, and therefore many entries here will lack links. Get over it. When I do link, some sites will require registration. If it's free and not too onerous, I'll give the link and you're on your own. You can't be a serious consumer of L.A. news without registering at the LAT site, for instance. Submit bogus demographic data if it makes you feel better. I'm on the books as a 99-year-old woman with no income and an Alaska zip code at sites with the temerity to ask.
Think of the links bars on the right side of L.A. Observed as works in progress. They'll be changing with time. Thoughts and suggestions are welcomed. Same for feedback on the site's design.
I can't say yet how active this site will be. Let me know how you think it's going by email. If you don't want your email to show up on the page, say so. If you are rude and abusive I may use it anyway with suitable derision applied.