Tomorrow is when we begin to find out how well Los Angeles Times editors have been able to contain the damage from the publisher's decision to shove the news deadlines forward several hours — a move made to eliminate a printing plant and its staff while accommodating the needs of news competitor and print customer the Wall Street Journal (which apparently gets to keep its later deadlines.) The side effect most rued in the newsroom is the plan to ghettoize late news into a new quasi-section that will move around the paper, depending on the day. Last week's dry runs on the State of the Union and other late coverage were apparently unimpressive, leaving some newsroom cynics to predict this latest cost-cutting experiment may last just weeks. The Orange County printing plant doesn't actually close for a couple of months, so in theory it would be possible to call the whole thing off.
A more immediate side effect is less overall space in the paper for content. This email just went out to arts and culture freelancers.
From: Stern, Sherry
Sent: Monday, February 01, 2010 11:25 AM
Subject: hi freelancers
Hi. I’m writing this time to let you know that as of tomorrow our page size shrinks.. As a result we generally are shortening stories by 10%.
Most Sunday stories should run between 1000 and 1200 words. Most daily reviews should be 350 or so words.
These are rules of thumb and we can and should discuss in advance based on the story or event.
Let me know if you have questions.
Stern is deputy arts and culture editor.
Previously at LA Observed:
LAT's new section name already taken...(by latex fetish mag)