Jason Middleton has something to say about Lesley Balla's dig at LA.com earlier this week. He emails:
Normally, I wouldn't respond to a competitor's blog posting, but there are some clarifications to be made regarding Ms Balla's musings about LA.com.
Ms Balla and I can certainly agree on one thing: Lonny Pugh was as professional and helpful as anyone I have ever encountered. It was a pleasure to meet him and work with him. We parted as friendly rivals and I wish him the best at urbandaddy.com.
Past that, Ms Balla can lament the glory days of her tenure at LA.com all she needs -- and has done so at length. The fact is, her "obituary" was for her own, years-old version of the URL. Had that version of the site been viable, it would still be around.
Today, we hope to live up to the potential of the URL: cover all of LA. We're moving the focus, content and scope of the site away from an elitist, West Side view. We are broadening it to include all of Los Angeles. Undoubtedly, the west side is rich with stories and scenes; however, other parts of the sexiest city in the world could use a little juice, too.
We haven't lost any voices; we've gained more of them. And hope to gain more and more.
R Jason Middleton
Editor in Chief, LA.com
ps / The Los Angeles Daily News does not own LA.com . It is a sister property.
pps / My office is clean and well-lighted. It is also white.
* And Balla responds: Including an observation on the air inside the LA.com offices in Woodland Hills:
I obviously struck a chord with Jason, the new editor of LA.com, the other day. I’m not sure who he thinks the competition is---LAO or Eater LA---but it’s nice of him to respond to a little ol’ blog. While Jason made some valid points, what’s brilliant is that he thought LA.com was “elitist” and “West Side.” He obviously never met Laurie Pike.
Considering he just got here from Houston and probably lives somewhere in the Valley, it’s great that he wants to support “all of LA.” In fact, on Eater we try to seek out restaurant news all over town, but we don’t have newspaper bureaus too feed off of like he does. I can’t argue with broad coverage, and we know how much those community newspaper reporters appreciate their entertainment stories filtering into the new LA.com. My point was that LA.com was once an insider’s guide, one that sought out unique, new, old, quirky, upscale, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, and events from the Valley to the South Bay. Our readers devoured the fresh copy and looked to the site for inspiration to explore the city. It was only considered elitist perhaps to those toiling away in the Daily News office, where LA.com is based, because anything outside of Woodland Hills was considered “the West Side.” LA.com covered Los Angeles, from downtown to Santa Monica, from Malibu to the Orange County line. And no, we didn’t ignore the Valley.
My obituary wasn’t for the site’s technology or designwe were trying to change that years agobut for the loss of original content. We lament its loss of voice and brilliant editorial team, including and especially my successors. Cobbler stories and regurgitated celebrity gossip isn’t insider, unique or new. Sure, it’s coming from all around the city, but from the “sister properties,” not entirely from an individual staff. Call it what it is: A portal for Media News Group copy. Will LA.com have any original content now that the entire staff quit after Jason took over or will it continue to import newspaper articles? That’s to be seen. But now that he has a clean slate, perhaps it will be easier to start from square one. We wish him luck.
PS: His office may be white, but the air in that building is unmistakably brown. Or yellow, like the faded newspapers from 1982 we found in our desk when we moved there.