LAT

Found O'Shea *

Outgoing L.A. Times editor Jim O'Shea won't be on "News Conference" here Sunday morning, as we noted, but he is scheduled to turn up on CNN's "Reliable Sources" with Howard Kurtz at 7 am Los Angeles time.

* Somebody gets up early: LA Observed reader Rick Fleishman writes:

On CNN's Reliable Sources this morning, Jim O'Shea made the best point about the ongoing LA Times' self-immolation that I've heard in the last few years: why not invest in the paper and see what happens? Not that Zell has to write an endless series of blank checks, but maybe pull some small change out of the coffee can - it's not like they're down to their last hot dog back there in Chi. At least stop cutting for a while, and stop the buyouts. How can you produce a quality paper without experienced staff? Get (or keep) some writers who care about keeping print alive; increase and improve local and regional coverage.

Do this for a while - long enough to see what the response is. If advertising and circulation increase, build on what you've got. If nothing happens, then maybe you need to look at a new approach. If you're going to have print edition at all, don't eviscerate it and then express shock when circulation and ads flee. They're not actually trying to create a bad paper, are they?

A perfect example of how the Second Street gang is willing to eat their young is the abominable Thursday Calender supplement, which devolves with each new iteration as the Times strives to do less with less (to paraphrase the publisher character on The Wire).

One of the few useful features in the last version was the comprehensive listing of live entertainment venues. This was something you might actually save and use through the week for advance planning. It's great that this is on the web, but not everyone is club kid with a Blackberry; some people want a guide they can take with them, or spread out on the table to see their choices.

Why not at least try to put out a good product?

Rick Fleishman
Encino


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