Ranting about Long Beach journalism

Long Beach resident and LA Observed reader Ron Schweitzer sent a letter to the Press-Telegram explaining why the latest cuts there pushed him into becoming an L.A. Times buyer. His cost/benefit analysis per page could serve as a message to all the starving Singleton-MediaNews papers in Southern California:

First to understand what I look for in a paper: Iím a businessman and investor, and I want a real Business section, not 1 page! Also, my wife and I read the paper together every day, and we share stories that we read with our 3 kids, as we think getting and reading the local paper is a basic part of citizenship. However, due to your vastly decreased amount of news and new format, there is really only 1 section of the newspaper anymore, and we now have to take turns reading it, ruining our morning routine. (I used to give her the front page, while I read what used to be a Business and World News section).

The tiny ďLifeĒ section is not interesting to us, and we toss the Sports section in the recycle bin straightaway, along with the copious amounts of advertising. So we have to fight over the meager 12 pages of whatís left, in the front section of the paper.

The last straw for us was your removal of the weekly Wall Street Journal supplement on weekends. At first I thought I just couldnít find it in all your advertising, but itís gone.

Iím upset enough, that I bought the LA Times today, prior to canceling my subscription with you, and made some comparisons.

Long Beach Press-Telegram (PT) vs. LA Times (Times):

PROS: PT has done great articles in the past on port pollution, which is the biggest issue this city faces (I have an asthmatic child, and one with chronic bronchitis, both of which are aggravated by the diesel exhaust and other airborne pollution from the port, and may actually have been caused by it)

PT has local editorial coverage, and should have good local coverage of other news, but this has declined drastically.

PT has political cartoons by Oliphant, commentary by George Will, and local humor by Grobaty, all three of which we enjoy.

Times has 700% more business news than the PT: 7 pages vs. 1 page.

Times has an 8-page ďCaliforniaĒ section, that combined with the Business section, gives me something to read while my wife reads the 15-page front page section. (Then we trade) We wonít pay much attention to the Times Food, Calendar, Sports and Highway 1 sections.

Times has 30 pages of what we want vs. 12 pages in the PT. Cost of the Times is $145.60 per year vs. $120 for PT, meaning the Times would charge us 4.8 cents per page of news vs. PT charging us 10 cents per page of news.

We will be dropping our subscription, and moving to the Times. Even though we get the Grunion Gazette for free, itís nothing near the neighborhood paper it used to be, and we toss it straight into the recycling bin when it comes on Thursdays. (Circulation is irrelevant if no one reads it.)

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