Media people

Al Martinez pens final column for changing Daily News

al_martinez-mug.jpgChange is more or less continually in the air at the newspapers of the Los Angeles News Group. On Monday, the Daily News and I think some of the chain's other papers will carry a farewell column from longtime Los Angeles author and columnist Al Martinez. His regular Monday column spot has been dropped, he writes. He got the column in 2009, shortly after he was dropped by the Los Angeles Times (where he worked for 38 years.) It was just a year ago that the Huntington Library mounted an exhibition honoring Martinez.

You’re wondering why I am standing by a half-open door marked Exit, looking back with regret at the me that used to be me?

It is because this is my last day as a columnist for the Daily News and perhaps the last day of the me that has written columns for three different newspapers over the last four decades.

I am, you might say, from this day forward the Former Al Martinez.

Well no, they’re not going to behead me or lock me in a tower for the rest of my life. They are just not going to use my column anymore due to budget restraints, a new design for the group of small newspapers to which the DN belongs and probably any number of other reasons.

They are basically going in a different direction, and there is no room on the bus for me.

Martinez says "there are probably no more columns in my future," but that he will continue writing a blog for the AARP website perhaps write another book. He'll miss the stage presented by a newspaper column. "I was granted an opportunity to offer comments and opinions on a world that seemed perpetually on the brink of cultural Armageddon; a world of high humor and low motives; of cowardice and courage; of high achievements and unbelievable stupidity."

Other changes at the LANG chain include a recent redesign of the print papers, some editor reassignments I've posted on before, and late last week an announcement that the papers around Southern California will all start to be labeled as editions of the Daily News. It's all about looking like the papers have bigger circulation. From the memo to the staff by LANG chief Jack Klunder:

Starting Monday, you’ll notice a small line under each of our mastheads (or flags) identifying the publication as “an edition of the Los Angeles Daily News.” The reason for this is due to our company’s new method of reporting circulation to the Alliance for Audited Media (formerly ABC, or Audit Bureau of Circulations).

By combining and reporting all of our daily and weekly publications under one title, it increases our rank and clearly identifies the Los Angeles Daily News brand as a “Top Ten” media buy. In fact, when combining our circulation under one brand, our total daily volumes currently ranks 9th highest in the nation and our Sunday totals rank 13th (see ranking on following page). We want to make it easy for large-scale advertisers to recognize the strength and total reach of our entire group.

We have already been including this tag on many of our weekly publications for the past year which you can refer to as an example. We think that making this change in compliance with Alliance for Audited Media will command the attention of national agency buyers and hopefully influence them to consider all LANG newspapers for their advertising orders.

For readers and advertisers, there will be no noticeable change as all LANG publications will retain their individual branding, mastheads and locally focused content.

Also in the memo: the Whittier Daily News moves Monday to a new office location on Bright Avenue in Whittier. The paper's current building on Greenleaf Avenue was sold. "The new facility will function primarily as a news bureau with City Editor, Andrew Landeros, taking on oversight of the office staff. The move is part of our ongoing analysis and restructuring of key resources and very much in line with our transition from traditional print to digital media," says the memo.

Previously on LA Observed:
Watch Al Martinez's column to learn about growing old
New aging milestone for Al Martinez: the 'heart attack'
Al Martinez, bard of LA
Al Martinez on the passing of his daughter

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