Media notes: The final WWLA and more

Because I can go only so long without doing media notes...


Tonight at 7 p.m. is the final "Which Way, LA?" show on KCRW. The show is ending, 23 years after the riots that spawned it, but Warren Olney will remain on the air as the host of the nationally syndicated "To the Point" and add other segments on KCRW. More on our earlier post.

Sounds like the final show is going to be about taking stock of LA this far removed from the post-Rodney King riots. D.J. Waldie tweeted that he's a guest along with Kevin Starr, Erin Aubry Kaplan, Christopher Hawthorne and maybe others. It will be online after, but this one you might want to hear live, ya know? Here is a 1993 story about the new WWLA in the New York Times by the late Los Angeles correspondent Robert Reinhold, posted to Facebook by Joel Bellman. Also on the LA Times op-ed page, David Lehrer asks where will we turn for civil discussion? without Warren Olney asking his questions?

This week, Los Angeles radio listeners will lose an extraordinary element of our civic life — a unique vehicle for the exploration of issues that confront this city. In an age when hyperbole, sensationalism, rancor and mindless chatter occupy so much of the airwaves, "Which Way L.A.?" — one of the few on-air havens of serious, rational dialogue on contentious issues — will be gone.

Warren Olney, the show’s host for the last 23 years, will be ending the broadcast on Thursday. Olney and the program have been a unique keeper of L.A.’s historical record — our triumphs, our crises, our travails and our failures. From gang warfare to the 1992 riots, from water shortages to traffic, from government boondoggles to elections analyses — Olney was there, discussing the issues with his guests thoroughly, fairly and civilly.

But it isn’t simply the chronicling of events that has made "Which Way L.A.?" so special. Even more importantly, the show has been an instrument for people of opposing viewpoints coming together as guests of the show and engaging in a dialogue. By virtue of the show’s format and Olney’s firm, friendly and thoughtful demeanor, they were compelled to express their views without rancor or bile — a true rarity in our era of partisan bickering.

Also media noted:

  • A media-centric conversation with Jose Antonio Vargas regarding his #JournalismSoWhite meme does not mention at all his relationship with the Los Angeles Times. To Poynter, he is "a Pulitzer Prize-winner who speaks around the country about immigration and identity."
  • More coverage of Kaiser Health News bulking up with veteran journalists and launching California Healthline: "With a two-year, $1.2 million grant from [the California Health Care Foundation], KHN has also hired eight new reporters—some from California’s leading publications—to join its existing team of five. [Julie] Marquis, who came to Kaiser two years ago from the Los Angeles Times, told me KHN aims to expand its reach in California “in collaboration with other journalism organizations.” Columbia Journalism Review
  • The Knight Foundation announced 17 winners of the Knight News Challenge on Data. Each of the winners will receive a share of $3.2 million to develop their project, which seeks to answer the question: How might we make data work for individuals and communities?
  • Corbis, the photography archive owned by Bill Gates that includes some of the most famous pictures ever made, has sold its image and licensing division to a Chinese company. The transfer of images from the 1989 crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an event that China’s Communist Party has aggressively blotted out of public view ever since, has perhaps raised the most alarm. NYT
  • Lisa Margonelli has joining the Zocalo staff as science and humanities editor and columnist on science.
  • Eight LAPD officers who opened fire on Los Angeles Times newspaper delivery women Margie Hernandez and Emma Carranza in 2013, thinking they were rogue ex-cop Christopher Dorner, will not be criminally charged. LAT
  • Brent Hopkins, a reporter who left the Daily News in 2008 to join the LAPD as a rookie officer, has been promoted to detective.
  • Tom Lutz, editor of the LA Review of Books, Q&Aed on the New York Times opinion page.
  • Tom Waldman, the former communications director for LAUSD, wrote the script for a musical, "Eastside Heartbeats," at Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights that was inspired by the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters opening for the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in August 1965. Casa 0101
  • The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism launched a new website created in partnership with The Washington Post’s technology team. USC Annenberg Media
  • The Los Angeles Public Library is forgiving overdue fines when you return a book between Feb. 1 and 14.
  • Abe Vigoda, the character actor reported dead in a media hoax 34 years ago, did die on Tuesday at age 94. Wires

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