Big problems at L.A. Times this morning **

Many problems with the Los Angeles Times presses last night and early this morning — with numerous breakages of the pressroom web — and some papers are still just being delivered. Advertisers and readers are reportedly livid all over the place — and reports are that the 800 number hasn't been working. It's the first week that the Times is flying without the presses in Orange County, which closed last week, leading to speculation that the Los Angeles pressroom was overtaxed or even possibly sabotaged. Pressroom veteran Ed Padgett's blog hinted last night at possible trouble brewing:

With the shuttering of the Los Angeles Times Orange County Production Facility last Saturday the word heard throughout the downtown Los Angeles Production Facility from my colleagues has been “What idiots decided to shutter the Orange County Plant?”

The challenges of completing the daily newspaper at the Los Angeles Times are many, and with the fire in the control panel for the chillers last Thursday, the pressroom is like a sauna as the temperatures are high and the humidity unbearable.

The Pressman Blogger has been absent the last few days due too seventeen hours of overtime worked the last five days. Have to admit I’m thinking the Orange County Facility may need to be re-opened, as they are sorely needed to produce the newspaper.

On a closing note; if the Los Angeles Lakers pull off a win tonight we will be producing an additional 50,000 copies of tomorrow’s newspaper.

His blog's most recent post, from another contributor: "Thought for Today: Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. - Ralph Waldo Emerson" Meanwhile, while many readers of the Los Angeles Times didn't even get a Sports section today, the competitor Orange County Register managed to put out a Lakers special section.

* Updates: The LAT's news blog has a scantly reported item that says 95% of papers have been delivered by 10:45 a.m., but there's nothing on the Readers' Representative blog (which sees its role more as newsroom cheerleader than customer representative of any kind.) I've heard from some readers:

  • "Didn't receive my LA Times today (live in Long Beach) and when I tried to call got fast busy or the call would fail to get through. I went to Albertsons, their rack in front still had a Thursday paper, so I went inside and they did have a copy. I left for work, my wife continued to call, finally got classified, which said they've got a few calls already, then she finally got through about 10. They did confirm there was a production issue and are sending out the paper by noon (hopefully)."
  • "I am sure you are on this but the times must have had a major melt down. My paper showed up 90 minutes late with no sports section or their late news section. Their phone lines will not go through and paper had not been delivered to stores."
  • "No LAT delivery in a large swath of the area. Try to call in to report and the 800 number is down. Sigh."
  • "I did not receive a sports section (on the morning after their game 7 win) or an LA Extra section in my Times this morning. Apparently, I'm not the only one; the phone line is jammed, I can't get through on the 800-LA-TIMES number. I'm not sure how even the Times can screw up this badly."
  • "I got through to an operator at the Times who told me "production problem" had delayed the paper being distributed until after 10 this morning....Terrible."
  • "I live in Huntington Beach. Both my and my neighbor's paper were missing Sports and California Extra. Register, however, had a special section about the Lakers win."

** Padgett updates: "In my thirty-eight years working at the Los Angeles Times, last night was the very first time I wondered if we would deliver today’s edition to our readers. Yes it was that bad last night at the Olympic Production Facility."

Publisher apologizes: Eddy Hartenstein's statement.


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