Details on LAT politics blog

Fear of the long knives from Chicago is rampant again in the Los Angeles Times newsroom at First and Spring streets downtown. You know people are skittish when a rumor sweeps through the pods, as it did last Friday, that editor Dean Baquet had quit rather than slash the staff further. (He hadn't — but remember, he did consider not taking the job last year on the same grounds. And the Chicago Tribune just laid off twenty and eliminated 120 positions.) Two memos today do bring some news though. Starting tomorrow, reporter email addresses will be added to the end of news and feature stories. The directive from managing editor Doug Frantz welcomes the staff to the Internet era:

When replying, keep in mind that your response is public and assume it will be posted on the Internet. Be as careful as you are in an article. Be polite and brief. Use common sense.

Abusive e-mails do not warrant a response. If an e-mail raises a legal issue regarding an article, forward it to Karlene Goller immediately.

Goller is the newsroom legal counsel. Also, the Times will debut a new political blog on Sept. 7. Political Muscle will focus on the race for governor and be written mainly by Bob Salladay of the Sacramento bureau. The blog will be an element of a new Times website, California Politics, that will also include a section called Mother's Milk, on campaign money. Peter H. King, a former city editor, will oversee the site for the first month then give way to a permanent editor, according to a memo sent around the LAT newsroom today.

Both memos to the staff follow in their entirety:

Memo on reporter bylines:

From: Frantz, Doug - LA Times
Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 1:33 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: e-mails

A Reminder

Starting tomorrow, staff e-mail addresses will be attached to the end of each article in the news and feature sections. As I've said before, this is an opportunity for us to listen to the people who read our newspaper.

When replying, keep in mind that your response is public and assume it will be posted on the Internet. Be as careful as you are in an article. Be polite and brief. Use common sense.

Abusive e-mails do not warrant a response. If an e-mail raises a legal issue regarding an article, forward it to Karlene Goller immediately.

In cases where people say you've made a mistake, follow the corrections policy in our ethics regulations. All requests for corrections should be forwarded to Jamie Gold.

In addition, please forward general comments, whether its praise or criticism, to Jamie so that she can keep a finger of the pulse of our readership.

The tech folks are standing by to help manage your mailbox so it doesn't get overloaded, but it's your job to clean out e-mail regularly. It's best if you don't open attachments from strangers.

E-mail addresses will be listed for the bylined reporters, not contributors or freelancers. On a practical level, you will have to write your e-mail address at the end of stories in the beginning. We'll automate this soon.

Thanks.

Doug

Memo on California Politics:

From: Frantz, Doug - LA Times
Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 1:30 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: California Politics

To the Staff

On Sept. 7, we will launch a new political Web site as part of latimes.com. The site, California Politics, will provide up-to-date, comprehensive coverage of state races.

The site will showcase the expertise of our reporters and editors, offering news and innovative features for readers with only a passing interest in the political scene as well as junkies who crave new information several times a day.

The centerpiece will be a lively blog, Political Muscle, focusing on the governor's race. It will be written from the campaign trail by Bob Salladay, with regular contributions from his colleagues. Another important element, Mother's Milk, will highlight the role of money in campaigns.

Distinct portions of the site will be devoted to other statewide and congressional races, ballot propositions and public service elements. We will link to key documents and other Web sites, giving people the opportunity to research the issues themselves.

Some aspects of California Politics will be playful and interactive, allowing readers to cast ballots on particular political ads or the general tenor of the campaigning.

Joel Sappell and his Web crew have worked overtime to get the site ready to launch just as the political season heats up. We> '> re sure you will find Stephanie Ferrell's design an exciting and elegant platform for our work.

Pete King will be the editor of California Politics for the first month. Pete combines a deep knowledge of the political world and all the skills of a first-rate journalist, making him the perfect person to guide us through the launch and early days of what will be an evolving feature of latimes.com. A permanent editor will be named later.

We are convinced California Politics will demonstrate how the marriage of newsroom and Web site can benefit the newspaper and, most important, our readers. We are confident it will become the destination for anyone interested in the fascinating and ever-changing world of California politics.

Doug and Leo


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