Sara Catania was a reporter for the Times, Daily News and LA Weekly — and watches The Wire on HBO. The experiences left her with the perspective that "to be a journalist in Los Angeles is to be made aware, sooner or later, of the second-class nature of this particular occupation in this particular place." She blogs:
Here in LA we have no Bob Woodward, no David Halberstam, heck, for all she annoys me with her compulsive narcissism, not even a Maureen Dowd.
We are left to settle for the transplanted pugilism of Steve Lopez (who made his name on the East Coast) and the reactionary warblings of Caitlin Flanagan.
I worked at the LA Times in the mid-1990’s, well past the two-decade golden era of Otis Chandler (1960-1980) but close enough to be surrounded by acolytes running on its fumes...When I moved to the San Fernando Valley-based Daily News, I found the lack of pretension refreshing but the devotion to the bottom line self-defeating. (On my first day I was made to sign a ledger for my allocation of two pens and a notebook. When I requested more I was told to come back when those ran out.)
After about a year I moved to the LA Weekly. As an “alternative” paper, the Weekly never had to face the pressure of competing head-on with the esteemed East Coast dailies. Instead, while Sue Horton was editor, writers could pick and choose, reporting and writing deeply on whatever they were passionate about.
It was during that time that Howard Blume developed his incomparable investigative expertise about the LA public school system, a knowledge that, years later, when he became a casualty of one of the paper’s ugly staff purges, led to a reporting job at the LA Times.
It was during those years that Erin Aubry Kaplan honed her considerable talent as an observer, thinker and writer on the intersections of race, the self, culture and politics.
And it was during those years that executive editor Harold Meyerson, through his Powerlines column, solidified his standing as the city’s leading political analyst.
Of course, the entire notion of old school, place-based journalism is a bit nostalgic in the era of blogs, the 24-hour news cycle and the bottom line-driven phenomenon known as Sam Zell. Still, when it comes to creating content based on original reporting, traditional media remains far ahead of the web.
Like many journalists, she started blogging in part to deal with the isolation of working on a book.