Lesley Balla helped in 2003 to launch LA.com as an informed, even sassy hub of opinionated takes on Los Angeles. She doesn't like what has happened now that the Daily News (which runs the site) is re-packaging the site's content for the more suburban readers of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group papers. Balla calls the new LA.com flavorless and souless, mourning out loud at Eater LA:
A cobbler story as the lead dining piece? Ugh. No offense to the writer (Natalie
Houghton[it's Haughton]) or cobbler, which we find delicious. But that isn't the LA.com we knew and loved. Now it's as limp as a leafed-through, grease-stained paper abandoned at the coffee shop.
The Daily News owned the website, but it was younger, hipper, smart, stylish, and most importantly, it was its own entity. As one former co-worker put it, "It was a hotbed of talent." From the editors to the designers to those in charge, it really was. The restaurant scene was our beat, which we took by the tines and tried to boil it down to an honest, digestible bite. We tracked down the city's hottest chefs and restaurant personalities. We launched a dining newsletter that was equally useful and entertaining. We blogged restaurant gossip (we were the first to break where the Batali/Silverton project would go). We loved our job. Eventually, one needs to move on, and we did, but only after the Daily News laid off half of the LA.com staff and moved operations from a beautiful Westwood office to a dark, dank, brown one in Woodland Hills.
Balla, the editor at Eater LA, praises past editors Laurie Pike, Lonny Pugh and Alexandra Le Tellier.
* Name fixed