Yaroslavsky as web news pioneer

zevblog.jpgThat innovative new website for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky that we told you about in May has gone live. It features a blog by Yaroslavsky and stories about county news and issues written by former Newsweek correspondent in L.A. Andy Murr and ex-LAT editor Lennie LaGuire. It's an experiment in public outreach driven by the declining news media, Yaroslavsky explains:

From my vantage point in the arena, I know that the real story of Los Angeles County government is more layered than the image that often emerges in the news accounts that shape public perceptions.

In recent times, that picture has become even more one-dimensional as the rise of the Internet has delivered a serious financial blow to the mainstream media, forcing them to thin the ranks of reporters, including those who cover our local political institutions. For the most part, the coverage they continue to offer is important but is simply too spare to provide a true understanding of the breadth of issues that confront us or of the people who take to heart their role as public servants.

This new website represents my commitment to share with you more of the story of Los Angeles County—what works and what doesn’t....Now and again, you may see a picture of me cutting a ribbon or shoveling some dirt at a groundbreaking. But our goal is to promote the issues, not me.

He's not running a journalism operation, Yaroslavsky adds: "We are simply offering you another stop on your daily journey through the web for deeper coverage in areas we’ve long considered priorities: health, transportation, the environment, arts and culture, public safety, social services and the economy." Joel Sappell, Yaroslavsky's deputy for special projects who oversaw the site's reinvention, is the former editor in charge of the L.A. Times website.

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