Kinsey Lowe left the L.A. Times Calendar editing staff in one of the 2007 contractions, telling colleagues "I have the highest hopes for all of you and for the Los Angeles Times." In an email today spurred by publisher Eddy Hartenstein's sale of the front page to NBC, Lowe apologizes to his ex-coworkers:
Sorry ladies and gentlemen, but after nearly three decades I'm giving it up.
I support all your efforts but this latest affront is just too much to let it pass. Not the notion of selling advertising on Page 1, but the nature of the ad itself. What a desperately, astonishingly tired idea. It makes the Staples debacle look absolutely brilliant.
I've already strung along for far longer than was even convenient.
I still pay for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and maintain Variety and other paid online-only subscriptions.
I know this is a betrayal, and for that I'm sorry, but "they" won't understand anything less.
There used to be a sort of truism about newspapers, that you could ruin a reputation overnight but it takes 10 years to build a new one.
Yesterday's newsroom confrontation between the staff and Hartenstein was tense, I'm told, but fell a bit short of the dramatic and emotional scenes that followed the 1999 Staples Center fiasco. Hartenstein reportedly indicated there would be more "innovation" coming on the news pages, but allowed that it might be better executed. [We'll see this weekend.]
Assistant Managing Editor Sallie Hofmeister is apparently getting some credit internally for talking Hartenstein off the higher ethical ledge he approached — sources say he had OK'd devoting the entire right-hand news column, top to bottom, to the NBC ad/fake news story. Even NBC was shocked. Imagine the backlash if the Times had hit its readers with that on Thursday morning.
Noted: "Southland" did pretty well in the local ratings, Brian Lowry reports at Variety.