Also in AJR...

In addition to the reconstruct of the Times' Arnold stories, the new issue of American Journalism Review has a piece on newspaper blogs. In it, Dan Weintraub says his California Insider lost a little "spunk" after he was ordered to run his copy through his Sacramento Bee editor. The story finds that many newspaper blog posts go up before an editor reads them, including Eric Zorn's at the Chicago Tribune.

There's also a story in AJR on Dean Singleton's laudable ambition to make his flagship Denver Post a great paper, even while his Los Angeles-area properties continue to suffer.

Gary North, a copy editor at Variety who used to work at the Long Beach Press-Telegram, was inspired to cofound Credibility Watch, a group that trains a skeptical eye on local media, particularly the owners, when Singleton bought his old paper from Knight Ridder and proceeded to cut staff, newshole, wages and benefits. He says MediaNews' smaller properties aren't getting the Denver, "crown jewel" treatment--"the reporters will tell you they're still treated like dirt," he says. And as for Singleton's commitment to local news, North says it's there, "in the sense that it fills in around the ads."

To be sure, Singleton's other newspaper properties aren't exactly reaching for the stars. Holding on for dear life is more the rule at places like the San Francisco Bay Area's ANG Newspapers, which laid off 17 editorial workers earlier this year. Vicki DiPaolo, director for the Southern California Media Guild, which represents employees in MediaNews' Los Angeles Newspaper Group, says when Singleton made a big play this fall to buy Freedom Communications, a company with papers in key MediaNews areas, it didn't sit well with employees who have struggled for wage increases and overtime pay, and who have seen the size of their papers and newsrooms shrivel. "The whole situation comes down to people not feeling respected," she says.

Here's the main website for the Southern California Media Guild.

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