Robert Niles, a former editor at the Los Angeles Times who also was editor of USC's Online Journalism Review, writes at OJR that he has canceled his print subscription because continuing to pay for a copy "was an act of co-dependence for sick and troubled organization. In its current form and under its current leadership, there's simply no way that the Times will again become the force for community enlightenment it once was, and continues to pretend to be." What I mostly hear these days is a more upbeat take, on the paper's revived dedication to local investigative stories and growing confidence as a smaller, less influential presence. But Niles goes on:
It's past time for newspapers to blow it all up and start over. By dropping my subscription to the Times, I'm casting my vote as a consumer for Tribune and the Times to do just that. When I subscribed to the Times, I was effectively supporting its publication and corporate management and encouraging the decisions that they made for their company and this newspaper. I don't wish to continue doing that any longer.
I don't want to keep paying to encourage sexist and lewd behavior by people who, by their positions, ought to be community leaders. (I know that Lee Abrams and Randy Michaels are gone. But Sam Zell, their ringleader, remains.)
I don't want to keep paying to encourage financial corruption by a corporation that ought to be devoted to exposing and building outrage against corruption by others.
I don't want to keep paying to encourage cheesy and deceptive front-page ads.
I don't want to keep paying to encourage the Times to move its front-page deadline before 6 pm.
I don't want to keep paying to encourage the Times to close its neighborhood bureaus and cut its coverage of my community. (What AOL's trying to do in Southern California with Patch now, the Times a decade ago already had, and better, in print and online.)