Times bloggers go to school

The L.A. Times will send all of its staff bloggers, current and aspiring, to blogging "boot camp" on March 12. The idea, according to a memo from Innovation Editor Russ Stanton, is to show them that the new Times way for blogs is that "they are updated several times each day, are passionate about their subject matter and regularly reach outside the building to pull the community into the discussion." He says that the new homicide and traffic blogs have shot to the top of the popularity list, behind only the paper's apparently wildly successful Lakers blog. For now there's a moratorium on new blogs, but Stanton writes that after the boot camp more will be unveiled — and some might be killed.

Also in the memo: Times staffers prepare for Internet 101 training and the members of a new committee on online standards and practices. Click for the whole thing.

From: Stanton, Russ
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 1:05 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: Newspaper/website update, Ch. 2
February 23, 2007

Training: The staff-wide Internet 101 sessions will begin Monday, March 5, in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The masthead got a preview of the presentation last week and it has since been tweaked and shortened. Next week, you'll be getting an email from Editorial Hiring & Development telling you how to sign up for one of the sessions. (If you're in a bureau other than DC, OC, San Francisco or Sacramento, you'll be getting a copy of the presentation on CD-ROM). The two other classes are technical in nature and are for the copy desk and key assignment editors in each section. They are learning Assembler, the program we use to post stories and improve story flow online. Those classes already have begun, enabling those folks to immediately being to improve their web reports and add interactive features to more of our stories.

Standards & Practices Committee: The mission of this committee, as outlined by Jim O'Shea, is to explore how we meet the challenge of becoming a more engaging destination on the internet without compromising our journalistic integrity. This group will meet twice a month beginning in early March. Here are its members:

Robert Burns, Graphics
Mike Castelvecchi, Ext. News Desk
Tami Dennis, Health
Dan Gaines, latimes.com
Tim Garrison, latimes.com
Jamie Gold, Readers' Rep
Alan Hagman, Photo
Catharine Hamm, Travel
Dan Loumena, Sports
Loree Matsui, Copy desk
Lorenza Munoz, Business
Jim Newton, Metro
Rich Nordwind, Calendar
Lorraine Wang, Design
Bettie Rinehart, latimes.com
Cary Schneider, Editorial Library
Eric Ulken, latimes.com
Leo Wolinsky, Managing Editor

Thanks to the dozens more who volunteered to serve on this one. Next up is the Redesign Committee, whose members we hope to announce in early March.

Blogs: The two new blogs on latimes.com -- Jill Leovy's Homicide and Metro's Bottleneck -- are off to spectacular starts, having leaped to 2nd and 3rd respectively in terms of traffic. They trail only the vaunted Lakers effort. These new blogs are models of what we're looking for: local team, local issue, local insight. They are updated several times each day, are passionate about their subject matter and regularly reach outside the building to pull the community into the discussion. If you haven't already, check them out at http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/homicidereport/ and http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/bottleneck/ ... Meanwhile, the moratorium on new blogs remains in effect while all of our current and aspiring bloggers go through a boot camp run by Bettie Rinehart, Managing Editor of Reader Interactivity. Their training begins the week of March 12th. The successful cadets will be released into the atmosphere in late March and given several months to find an audience. We'll keep the ones that do well and shutter the ones that don't.

Oscar online: Sunday night is TheEnvelope.com's biggest of the year. The website will be posting real-time photos of stars as they arrive on the red carpet, and Susan King will provide a live blow-by-blow blog of the telecast. If you need an early fix, this is the place to get it.

Meredith on the web: USC Annenberg's Online Journalism Review has a nice interview with Meredith Artley, the incoming executive editor of latimes.com. She starts here on Wednesday, March 21. Check it out at http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/0720junnarkar/

Russ Stanton

Innovation Editor

Los Angeles Times


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