Roundup of L.A. Times reactions

Yesterday's newsroom cost-cutting is shaping up as the biggest single downshift in content and staff depth in the history of the Los Angeles Times — with big hits in Washington, national and foreign coverage still anticipated after the election. I'll collect here the reactions I'm hearing and seeing in the media and blogosphere.

  • "The latest round of L.A. Times cuts, which has decimated the paperís cultural coverage, strikes me, for purely selfish reasons, as particularly repellent....Scott Timberg and Lynell George were two of the most astute cultural writers at the paper. Scottís coverage was both elegant and enlightening, he understood how the arts shape a city and vice versa. Lynell was hands down, the most lyrical writer the paper ever brought on board, her stories thrummed with be-bop and salsa, with the exhilaration of driving 80 m.p.h. on the L.A. freeway at 3 a.m. when itís almost a religious experience." Denise Hamilton, Native Intelligence
  • "Among the [cuts] were three writers who, by any definition, spiffed up the cultural conversation in our city. Film critic Carino Chocanoís best work was embodied in her all too infrequent essays connecting movies to social trends ó Iím not the first to notice that her last one, on the kinds of movies we get in hard times, now seems eerily prophetic. The departure of Scott Timberg, whose elegant profiles and think-pieces on literary figures kept Calendarís pages humming amid the drone of celebrity gossip, leaves only David Ulin and his depleted team holding the fort for books. And Lynell George wrote long-form pieces that took us not only into thriving African-American arts subcultures, but truly all over the L.A. Cultural map." Ella Taylor, LA Weekly
  • "Another harsh setback to serious news coverage." Frank Sotomayor, former Times editor, USC Annenberg Institute for Justice and Journalism.
  • "I'll miss the [Agustin] Gurza that many in Orange County continue to miss--the crusading columnist who took on SanTana's idiot pols before it became fashionable, who provided a voice for Latinos as we were finally emerging in gabacho Gomorrah, a reporter that treated naranjeros seriously as opposed to the backwards cousins of Eastlos." Gustavo Arellano, OC Weekly
  • "Amazingly, the Times OC editorial staff of six reporters (including three relative rookies) and one columnist is now smaller than ours at OC Weekly." R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly
  • "And the descent into irrelevance continues....Geez, does anyone work at this paper anymore?...Looks like they're even cutting back on their "cutting back" memos. Three freakin' grafs?...Add Thomas Bonk to the list. Best of luck to the writer who coined Phi Slama Jama...This used to be a great paper." Various,
  • "In a couple of years when the largest paper west of the Mississippi is relegated to nothing more than a news websites, they'll be asking how a once proud and highly profitable operation was destroyed...Here's what's most astounding about this: the most famous athlete in the world and one of the planet's most visible human-beings is Tiger writer was more consistently breaking news or demonstrating some form of access to Team Woods than Bonk."
  • "If I don't *buy* the paper, or even read the ads in print, but only read items online, and if I use an advertisement and popup blocker, do I have any right to complain when the paper cuts staff to save money?" Ed Greenberg via email
  • "Who says the newspaper industry is hurting? My Los Angeles Times is listed at 566 pages (for a Tuesday)! But I guess it was too much for my carrier, because I got only about 74 pages." Jeff Prescott, La Jolla via email.
  • "This is just beyond short-sighted. What happened to owning coverage of the entertainment industry on all fronts?" Bob Beamesderfer, former LAT editor, via email

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