The shrinking L.A. Times needs to get better in some areas and to "walk away from" some subjects it has traditionally covered, new editor Russ Stanton says. He wants the print and online newsrooms to become one, and he has plans to train more staffers in making videos. His newsroom speech from yesterday is on LATimes.com in text and video. My highlights:
It is a testament to our ambition and the will of our people that, with a staff that today is one-third smaller, we are still trying to cover the same broad spectrum of topics and geography that we did five years ago. But in many areas, we are straining to do that.
We need to preserve that ambition, and focus our field of vision. There are issues and stories we need to own - local news, immigration, education, health care, the environment, entertainment in its many forms, real estate, national security, the presidential campaign, Iraq, Latin America, Asia and, of course, Dodger baseball. And there are areas that we need to walk away from.
One of the keys to reversing our fortunes is improving our coverage of Southern California, and our website and our readers will take a big role in helping us accomplish that. David Lauter and his crew are off to a great start reorganizing the local report, and you can see their progress in each day's paper and on the website. As we reexamine what we do across the paper, we need to retain some of the hallmarks of our coverage, such as our foreign and national reports.
In print, we must address our most nagging and long-term problem: in canceling the paper, our former readers continue to tell us -- week in and week out, year in and year out -- that they don't have time to read everything we give them each day. The two Spring Street reports and last year's Reinvent report produced many good ideas about how to make the paper more accessible and immediate to our readers.
He mentions several "terrific investigative projects underway: one on the wildfires by Bettina Boxall and Julie Cart, one from T. Christian Miller that's related to Iraq, and David Willman has another gem in the offing, this one about bioterrorism." Stanton was on KPCC's "Patt Morrison" yesterday, here's the audio link.
After the jump: the New York Times covers yesterday's selection of Stanton.
Recently some of Mr. Stanton’s colleagues have taken the extraordinary step of going to [publisher David] Hiller to ask him not to choose Mr. Stanton, these people said, which Mr. Hiller confirmed.
Reporters and editors have said that Mr. Stanton does not have the stature or broad experience to run one of the nation’s most important newspapers.
Much of Mr. Stanton’s experience as a reporter and editor has been in business news, and he has not worked overseas or in Washington, for example. But he is well-liked, and he has been credited with improving latimes.com over the last year as the innovations editor overseeing the Web site.
“My guess is that overwhelmingly people will rally around him because fundamentally people want to be winners, not losers, and the defeatist mentality — and this is not just The L. A. Times — the defeatist mentality about the future of the news business has been rampant,” Mr. Hiller said in an interview Thursday.
He said that Mr. Stanton’s work in integrating the Web and the newsroom, and in helping map out the future of the print paper, made him an ideal choice.
Colleagues describe Mr. Stanton, 49, as smart, low-key and little quirky; he keeps an extensive collection of Los Angeles Dodgers bobble-head dolls in his office. He has been at The Times since 1997.
In an interview, Mr. Stanton acknowledged that, like Mr. O’Shea before him, he needs to persuade the newsroom that he is not a puppet of Mr. Hiller.
Stanton finally named editor of Times