Instead of any kind of actual local, national or world news, the top of the Los Angeles Times website right now — at a little after midnight on Monday — is given over to a pretty big headline about an earthquake the USGS classified as "minor" almost three hours earlier. The 3.7 magnitude shiver was located under the wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest 12 miles north of Fillmore. No injuries, no damage, and only the lightest degree of shaking — "weak" — on the auto-generated USGS shake scale. So if isn't news, and was barely felt even close by, why does the LAT keep leading the website with these bullshit robot-generated quake briefs? I know a few editors think it's cool that a script writes their earthquake briefs, but really. How about a little sophistication and faith in the readers. It's not the first time.
Let's say you are the kind of web surfer the Los Angeles Times dearly wants and needs — a SoCal news consumer who wants to be informed about the big stories — where should you go late at night? Not the LA Times apparently — their top story is from a quakebot. What about the competition? Here's what a reader seeking out the latest LA news would get right now by dropping in on some of the LAT's main competition for local news eyeballs and loyalty.
KPCC goes with a real story: Obama.
The Daily News mixes features with news — no high value real estate wasted on a bogus quake story.
The LA Register is mostly soft features. There is a ticker for breaking news. No quake story.
CBS LA goes with actual breaking news from the heart of Los Angeles — as well as a cute cat. They do have a quake headline but downplayed and downpage.
NBC 4 goes with real local news.
Just for kicks, while the LA Times is telling its readers the Big Story is a 3.7 earthquake in some remote mountains, what does the New York Times offer its drop-ins?