These two items aren't really related, but they came in at the same time and are both about the new Los Angeles Times. First, right now the story at the top right of the main LATimes.com page — the most prime web real estate the newspaper owns — is devoted to a photo feature called Oscar in the nude: "Rachel Weisz, Gwyneth Paltrow and more: performers who appeared in various states of undress in their Oscar-winning work." That ought to be good for a few hundred thousand page views from adolescent boys.
And this, from LA Observed reader Keith Malone, sent to his personal email list:
From: Keith Malone
Subject: My confession: I cancelled my LA Times subscription
I had to share this. I feel a little depressed. I cancelled my subscription to the LA Times this morning. I'm tired of watching the Times circle the drain and lose page after page as it becomes an emaciated version of its former self. Sorry for the mixing of metaphors, but I think they are appropriate for the circumstances.
What's worse is that they didn't fight to keep me. They asked me why I was leaving, but didn't offer a deal or put up much of an effort. I told them that I was willing to talk to someone at the Times to share with them all the reasons why, but I don't think it registered with the operator; she efficiently processed my request. Most likely, the transaction was handled by an out-of-state vendor - why would they care if my hometown paper is tanking?
Perhaps this serves as my confession. I'm a third-generation Angeleno and, as much as this town/region/place drives me nuts, there are parts of it that are amazing, including the people in it. It's my home and the LA Times has been part of my life, for better or worse. In a way, I've had a relationship with it for more than 30 years; it was part of my daily ritual.
I'll still read it online, but it won't be the same. Maybe it's a generational thing. I feel disloyal somehow. This doesn't feel right. But I have to do it.
Thanks for listening.
Similar emails are becoming depressingly common.
* Added: Or if you want to be real depressed, blog posts like this one from Sherman Oaks English teacher and freelance writer Paul L. Martin, who dropped the LAT reluctantly:
But enough is enough. Since Sam Zell took over, the paper has diminished in quality to the point where all semblance of quality has left the building. Sure, Steve Lopez is still there, and David L. Ulin, and a few other stragglers from the glory days. But the paper takes less and less time to read, and costs more and more of my income in a time of diminished circumstances for a lower middle class private school teacher.