LA Observed 2.0

Time for a change.

A fairly major change, in light of the way things have been done here so far. There won't be a Morning Buzz today so I can tell you about it.

Starting now, LA Observed is a group effort. I invited about a dozen writers, journalists and observers of Los Angeles whose eye and voice I respect to think about posting here. Almost all of them jumped at the offer, to my amazement. More are on the way. For the three years that I have blabbered here solo I've always benefited from a richly informed and interesting retinue of email corresponders, collaborators and eggers-on. Now the collaboration comes out of the closet, so to speak.

Here's how it will work. The content of this page — that is, LA Observed as you know it — will remain essentially the same. I will still gather and write most of the news and observations you see. Contributors may make an occasional appearance, under their own name, but where you will read them most of the time is on the new blogs and features that will be appearing over the next couple of weeks. Today it's my pleasure to announce the first debut blogger in our midst. Mark Lacter stepped down last year from a long and distinguished run as editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He will analyze the L.A. business scene, and probably break some news himself, at LA Biz Observed. There is no strong journalistic eye turned on the local business scene online — until now. You might hear Mark every week on KPCC. He introduces himself over at LA Biz Observed and offers his own appraisal of the Times' long and expensive-to-produce Sunday takeout on Philip Anschutz. Bookmark him.

Today we're also unveiling SoCal Sports Observed, a blog that will try to cut through the hype that surrounds local teams -- and have some fun at the same time. David Davis, who has a knack for uncovering the unknown angle for his pieces in Los Angeles Magazine and various sports publications, tests the blog waters with a couple of short posts already. David Neiman, a freelancer here for the Washington Post, joins him. I'll be posting there often, and you can expect to see other contributors jumping in.

Also on the initial masthead are Bruce Feirstein, the New York Observer columnist, Vanity Fair contributing editor and Hollywood veteran who wrote a piece last year praising LA Observed so effusively that I had to turn to him first; Cari Beauchamp, who combines serious non-fiction writing chops with a past as a former press secretary to Gov. Jerry Brown; Denise Hamilton, the award-winning author of the Eve Diamond mystery novels; Eric Estrin, a longtime television writer and Hollywood observer; Veronique de Turenne, the book reviewer for NPR's Day to Day; and others who will be introduced as the weeks unfold. They come from a dozen distinct communities and should have a lot to add about life in the city. The whole list is here if you want to sneak a peek.

So you might ask, why?

LA Observed has done pretty well as a one-man blog. It attracts a dedicated audience here and across the country that keeps growing. (Can I get away with using the "Best of the Web" nod from Forbes another year?) Blogs as a medium have matured into potential forces in communities that are underserved by more mainstream media sources. This seemed like the right time to expand a bit in content and ambition. Adding these voices could be a giant step forward for LA Observed as an independent journal of reporting, observation and opinion about the metropolis where we all live. Or, of course, it could be a bust. But I don't think so.

Please excuse the design glitches and error messages you will inevitably run into for awhile. The crack design team at LA Observed Tower is still massaging templates and chasing down orphaned pages. Expect some tweaks to the look, and please let me know if anything looks screwy or just doesn't work for you. As always, PC users should press Ctrl-F5 to force-load the new stylesheet if the pages look impossibly broken. And keep an eye out for more announcements. Enjoy the ride.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations
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LA Observed at this year's Festival of Books
Yes, we redesigned LA Observed (again)
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