Morning Buzz

Wednesday Buzz, 7.5.06

Welcome back to the work week. Here's a little news to get you started. Click on the Buzz to check it out.

Top News
Mount Washington home controversy
Jeffrey Anderson posts a piece on the LA Weekly website in advance of today's expected City Council vote on development plans for a lot next to Wolford House, also known as city Historic-Cultural Monument #614 and designed by architect James De Long.
“This case, which has sparked tremendous controversy in statewide historic preservation organizations, appears to have been unusually handled by the [planning] department in a way that requires investigation and policy oversight by the mayor and the council,” attorney Daniel Wright, president of the Mount Washington Homeowners Alliance and a drafter of the planning provisions of the city charter, wrote the mayor and City Council last month.
Oops, here's 2.5 million more
The Mexican presidential election suddenly became too close to call when election authorities revealed that about 2.5 million votes had been missing from earlier counts.
Girl's gotta eat
When the New York Times announced in February that Jennifer Steinhauer was coming out to become Los Angeles bureau chief, the memo praised her "permanently raised eyebrow to authority, an ebullient productivity that makes her a force of nature on a beat, and a piquant curiosity about everything from politics to interest rates to shoes." She puts at least some of that to work for today's Style piece on the rise of the casual izakaya as a rival to L.A.'s more formal sushi restaurants. She even quotes the locals:
from downtown's Little Tokyo, home to many izakaya hole-in-the-walls, to West Los Angeles, where a new-wave izakaya serves duck breast marinated in sake along with Basque sheep's milk cheese, Los Angeles may have the most inventive permutations of izakaya-style restaurants in the United States. The city's large Japanese population — more than 40,000 people — its proclivity for light eating and the cultural currency that Japanese food knowledge gives to people who make their livings impressing others, have combined to make it so.

"When you go into an izakaya here, you are looking for a predominantly Japanese crowd, and at least one big, hairy music industry type," said Jonathan Gold, the restaurant critic for LA Weekly. "It is the perfect kind of food for people with short attention spans."

Portugal vs France, noon
In English on ESPN and en español (with more excited announcers) on KMEX.
Dean Baquet and Bill Keller address the secrecy issue
The editors of the Los Angeles Times and New York Times together signed an op-ed piece in both papers on their separate decisions to report the news of the U.S. government's scrutiny of suspected terrorist bank records. The unusual joint piece follows a partisan attack from the Wall Street Journal's editorial page accusing the NYT of deliberately obstructing the war on terror. (NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger responds in Editor & Publisher.) Lots of response to the piece around the punditsphere and on the political blogs.
Nick Denton "retrenches" Gawker Media
Jesse Oxfeld is out as Jessica Coen's co-editor at, editors are also switched up at Wonkette, Gizmodo, and Gridskipper, and the tabloid site Sploid edited by Ken Layne (formerly of LA is put up for sale. Sites that Nick Denton founded or funded rack up 4.2 million unique visitors monthly, but founder Denton tells David Carr in the New York Times:
We are becoming a lot more like a traditional media company. You launch a site, you have great hopes for it and it does not grow as much as you wanted. You have to have the discipline to recognize what isn't working and put your money and efforts into those sites that are.
The two most Los Angeles-oriented of the sites, Defamer and porn blog Fleshbot, are unaffected. At his blog, Denton explains the moves in the midst of what otherwise seems like good times for the business strength of blogs:

First, advertising is a fickle thing. Particularly the entertainment advertising upon which so many websites depend. A change in the advertising industry's conventional wisdom, cutbacks by the studios: it wouldn't take much to prick the current exuberance. Better to sober up now, before the end of the party.

Second, operational costs are increasing. For editorial talent, we now pay within the range of mainstream media. Technology expenses are growing even faster. The open-source publishing systems, upon which most weblogs depend, cannot handle larger and more sophisticated sites...Finally, even successful sites such as Gawker and Gizmodo can settle into comfortable habits. Over time, on the same beat, all journalists get into a routine, or too close to sources, or go native.

Jossip broke the news. Oxfeld's farewell post. Nikki Finke gloats.
Antonovich's mailings
Steve Lopez columnizes in the LAT on county Supervisor Mike Antonovich's "frequent screwball mailings" at taxpayer expense.
The material has included a report that the Russians removed Saddam's WMDs before the U.S. could locate them, a photo caption suggesting that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa attended a "Marxist" law college, and my personal favorite — a story reporting that there's mathematical proof of God's existence.

Columnist Ann Coulter pops up regularly in the mailings, as do inspirational stories of spiritual healing.

Ken Bernstein profiled
The Daily News marks Bernstein's return to City Hall (from the Los Angeles Conservancy) as director of the new Office of Historic Resources. He previously was a deputy to then-Councilwoman Laura Chick.
New LAPD headquarters to be reviewed
After the Times picked up that Tutor-Saliba was the only contractor to bid on building the replacement for Parker Center — and came in high — the Board of Public Works called for a review.
Minutemen heckled at Fourth of July parade
Tabloid Baby blogs that the anti-Latino group wasn't too popular in Pacific Palisades—and neither was a member of KFI's "John and Ken."
L.A. tax reform just "cosmetic"
Los Angeles business taxes are still high, says the Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business survey.
Hewitt adds a title
Conservative website relaunched with new ties to right-wing talk radio and Hugh Hewitt as executive editor. The mission: "...promotes political activism by combining the interactivity of the internet and blogosphere with the reach of conservative talk radio."
Keys to impressing the boss at LABJ
If you are looking to snag one of the almost-always-open reporting vacancies at the Los Angeles Business Journal, editor Charles Crumpley just gave you some valuable free tips. In his latest column he vents about the level of decorum in candidates he sees.
Some men show up these days without ties or wearing soft-soled shoes. One time I interviewed a guy who showed up in a T-shirt. It was a short interview. Occasionally a woman will wear a cocktail dress or will desperately need to, ahem, button up. The inappropriately dressed tend to be ones who swear the most, it seems to me. And remember, we’re talking about job interviews here – the moment when people are supposed to strive to make their best impression.

The first thing one job seeker asked was where he could throw away his gum. I’m grateful he had the decency not to smack his way through the interview.

In my business, one’s past articles are of paramount importance. We call them “clips,” and reporters used to meticulously display them on heavy paper and artfully arrange them to show depth of reporting, clarity of writing and progression of coverage. Nowadays, I’m lucky to see wrinkled photocopies, even if there’s no real thought to how they’re arranged or presented. Sometimes they’re pulled out of pockets or purses.

Increasingly lately, when I ask for clips, reporter candidates often look at me as if I’m some neo-Luddite and say, “You know, you could just Google my name.” Well, sure dude, I could.

If you like, you'll like this
MediaNews plans to team up its newly acquired Northern California newspapers with the Hearst Corp. for a web strategy to be built around the name.
New editor at San Gabriel Valley Newspaper group
As Morning Buzz reported in May, Steve O'Sullivan is official as the editor of the group that publishes the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, Whittier Daily News and sixteen weeklies.
Cut here
Must have been a little rushed at last night. Halfway down the story on the Mexican election, the instruction to wire editors that is often included in dispatches sent out on the newswire — "Begin optional trim" — was left in the text. Caught by Joe Shea.
Toby Young at Press Club
"Cheers" writer, KCRW commentator and National Review contributor Rob Long interviews British journalist Toby Young about his new book, The Sound of No Hands Clapping. Venue has moved to the Barnsdall Park Gallery Theatre. 6:30 pm. Info.
Bela Lugosi Jr.
The lawyer talks with KPCC's Patt Morrison about the law regarding current and past celebrities. 2:20 pm.
More Dodgers, less Raiders?
The Daily News' Rich Hammond declares the Dodgers' effort to lighten up the rowdyism at games a success. I don't think everyone would agree with that.
Amazing streak
Angels shortstop Orlando Cabrera has reached base in 61 straight games, a record unmatched in at least four decades. But — it sounds more valuable than it really is. Over that span of games, something like 70 major league hitters have a higher on-base percentage than Cabrera's.
LACC gym on last legs
The 1935 gymnasium at Los Angeles City College will be torn down to make way for a library.
Philip Rieff, 83
The sociologist and ex-husband of the late Susan Sontag and father of journalist David Rieff died in Philadelphia.
Front page linksLA Observed archive

More by Kevin Roderick:
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The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
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Thursday news and notes
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