Ex-Times reporter blogs what he learned

William Lobdell launched his new Orange County-centric blog with a list of the 42 things he knows after a career at the Los Angeles Times. Excerpts:

8 - The idea that your daily news is collected, written, edited, paginated, printed on dead trees, put in a series of trucks and cars and delivered on your driveway — at least 12 hours stale — is anachronistic in 2008.

9 - As a friend told me last week, “Bro, face it. You guys are the 8-track cassette of news.”


21 - For all his business acumen, Zell has allowed his executives to concentrate, at least publicly, on the stuff that needs the least fixing (editorial content and design). I'd argue that, for now, 100% of their effort should be given to increasing sales and readership -- in print and online.

[skip, then he lists contributing factors to the Times' downfall]

24 - Fourth (and it pains me to say this), former top editors John Carroll and (and to a lesser extent) Dean Baquet. During their combined tenure, the local news operation was gutted in order to re-establish The Times’ international and national reputation. The result: shuttered Ventura and valley editions, a decimated Orange County edition (which had great reader demographics and tons of local advertising), and one reporter each left in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

25 -Fifth, the business side of the newspaper. This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, especially evident in the revolving door of ad directors (and no one in that position since February, despite it being the most critical sales period in Times’ history).

Also this, about Tribune's innovation anti-guru: "I’d stop Lee Abrams from writing his dumb-ass memos that are supposed to inspire Tribune workers, but only serve to piss everyone off. It says something about Zell’s leadership that scores of great journalists -- many wanting to embrace the future and lead the newspaper -- have voluntarily walked away from their jobs/careers while Mr. Abrams continues to pull down a large salary."

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