Back in November we noted that the Times' then-new publisher David Hiller replied to a disappointed reader's email with a personal note. That's still his style, apparently. Hiller today answered Ralph Shaffer, the history professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona whose complaint about the Times ran last night on LA Observed's "We Get Email" page.
First, here's Professor Shaffer's email in response to last week's "Frontline" story on the newspaper's future:
Ariel Capital's Charles Bobrinskoy, who thinks the LA Times ought to forego its role as a reporter of foreign news and concentrate on local stuff, must have a smile from ear to ear, assuming he saw the front page of Sunday's LA Times (3/4/07). Only four stories on page A1 and not a "news" story among them. Instead, Times readers were treated to a Bobrinskoy-style feature on the entertainment industry in Hollywood, a Bobrinskoy story on a local LA community (Harbor Gateway), and two features dealing with food and drugs. Only the last one, about Central America, might have raised the financier's eyebrows. He would have preferred an emphasis on drug running in Southern California. No war in Iraq, no threat from Iran, no worry about North Korea... not even a word about Walter Reed. Someone surely was listening to "Frontline" the other night and decided to give Bobrinskoy's idea of how to run a newspaper a try.
Hiller's email reply:
Thanks for writing. I do hope you judge the paper not by a single page 1 and not on one day. I thought the front page was darn good, and plenty of world and national in the A section. Sorry we disappointed you. Let me know if you see a pattern developing.
Thanks again for writing (and reading!).
Shaffer, by the way, is the author of a fascinating study and compilation of letters to the Times from the 1880s. It's linked over on the right side of News & Chatter under Subject:Los Angeles.