Media and Place: Tacos, politics and Vin Scully

El Big HappyEl Big Happy, Wall Street, DTLA Flower District.

LA Observed's occasional column of media notes and more.

At the top

"Taco trucks are like palm trees here. Part of the landscape, and not hard to find," writes Steve Lopez.

The future: BuzzFeed Regroups as Media Turns Video-Centric. NYT

Already, video represents more than 50 percent of BuzzFeed’s total revenue, compared with 15 percent at the end of 2014. In the next two years, BuzzFeed expects that video will generate up to 75 percent of its advertising revenue, according to a person briefed on the company’s operations....In April, the website Mashable made a round of job cuts as it moved away from covering world and political news, and Mic, a site aimed at a young audience, hopes to have 60 percent of the company focused on video by year’s end. Traditional news organizations like The New York Times and Tronc, formerly called Tribune Publishing, are investing heavily in video as well.

LA as subject: The Wilshire Grand skyscraper got its topping spire on Saturday morning, and the LAT's Thomas Curwen explains the skyline significance.

In addition to its height, the Wilshire Grand has the added distinction of changing the skyline of Los Angeles with a rooftop that is neither truncated nor flat. The spire, designed in tandem with a 10-story steel-and-glass crown, rises above an outdoor terrace on the 73rd floor. The architectural features of the spire, which is illuminated at night, are mostly ornamental and were developed in negotiation with city officials and the Los Angeles Fire Department.

Los Angeles’ flat-topped skyline had been required since the 1970s as a safety feature to accommodate landing sites for helicopters in the event of emergencies. Architects for the Wilshire Grand, however, proposed an alternative that reflected a more modern approach to high-rise design. It included a tactical landing platform, an elevator designed exclusively for firefighting and a video surveillance system to monitor each floor in the event of a fire.

More media future: Revenge of the legacy sector: "The New York Times and Washington Post edged out Buzzfeed and Huffpost for the most digital readers. It seems the digital news revolution may be kinder to incumbent media companies than we've thought." Ken Doctor/Politico

What’s most important isn’t who wins what may be a seesaw battle over the next couple of years. What’s importance is the audience appetite both are satisfying. Most interesting, though, is the fact that each legacy news organization has surpassed two of the hottest digital start-ups of the last decade.

SpaceX’s explosion reverberates across space, satellite and telecom industries. NYT

The private space launch company, led by the entrepreneur Elon Musk, has a generally solid safety record. But last week’s setback and a failed launch last year, when its rocket carrying a NASA cargo fell apart in flight, are raising questions about SpaceX, a company that has risen rapidly by offering lower costs and promising accelerated launch schedules.

Also: Monday's LA Observed segment on KCRW talked about the shipping container crisis developing down at Long Beach and out at sea. Listen | Archived segments at KCRW

Unrandom notes

Roger Ailes has enlisted the lawyer behind Hulk Hogan's and Melania Trump's anti-media lawsuits to go after New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman, from Brian Stelter at CNN Money... Donald Trump's "petty revenge on Connie Chung" back in 1990, via Mother Jones... High Times magazine is "poised to make its Hollywood debut next month," from a hub of pot-related offices in the Desmond's building on the Miracle Mile... Arianna Huffington introduced HuffPost Mexico... Q&A: Chris Davis’s plan to beef up Gannett’s investigative reporting. CJR... Hollywood’s summer of extremes: Megahits, superflops and little else. NYT's Brooks Barnes... The Newspaper Association of America is dropping "newspaper" to become just the News Media Alliance, says the NYT's Jim Rutenberg... Photographer Don McCullin: Chronicler of Man’s Inhumanity. LA Review of Books... Mark Rechtin is returning to the Los Angeles area as executive editor of Motor Trend.

Visiting chef?: TV host and chef Anthony Bourdain is tweeting and Instagramming about being in Los Angeles, including the view from his cherished Chateau Marmont. A tweet: "Ross MacDonald, Joan Didion, Raymond Chandler, Eve Babitz, James Ellroy, Nathanael West, Bruce Wagner, Fitzgerald. #LA stories." Also: "Just downloaded THE PAT HOBBY STORIES Needed them."

Nexus of media and politics: Donald Trump devotes three times more tweets to criticizing the media than he does to discussing policy issues, Vox finds.... 50 Days, 19 Photographs of Black Lives Matter's L.A. Protest, by editors... The LA County cities suing over Metro's Measure M sales tax ballot measure are in court Tuesday morning... Activist Daniel Guss guest-hosted the KFI Sunday morning show over the weekend.

Vin Scully watch

OK folks, we're in the final month of Vin's 67 years as the Dodgers' resident storyteller, and of his reign as the unofficial Mister Los Angeles. The New York Times' Richard Sandomir urges TBS to air Vin's final regular season game in San Francisco nationally. "It should be more than a local event for Scully’s fans in the Los Angeles area. When baseball’s greatest announcer retires, it is a national occasion."... George Will has weighed in with a personal essay on Scully... Tribune Media's deal with DISH means that subscribers will get to see Vin Scully's final broadcasts on KTLA... He also could do radio in Los Angeles if the Dodgers make the postseason, but it's optional and up to Vin... Scully chatted with Dick Enberg on camera before Saturday's Dodgers-Padres game. Enberg is also retiring.

In the Troncosphere

LA Times editor Davan Maharaj tweets his endorsement of Framed, the six-part serial just concluded in the LAT. Reporter Christopher Goffard will take part in a Facebook Live event Tuesday at noon... Remember when the John Carroll-Dean Baquet regime at the LA Times did away with suburban sections and California distribution? Baquet's New York Times has "quietly ended its coverage of restaurants, art galleries, theaters and other commercial and nonprofit businesses in the tri-state region, laying off dozens of longtime contributors and prompting protests from many of the institutions that will be affected." More at Deadline... The CEO of the New York Times makes a little joke about Tronc and says the print NYT will continue “a long time to come, a decade or more.” Just a decade?... Former LAT media and politics (and Westside) reporter James Rainey, now at Variety, talks about the news business and being in the media eye himself at the Pierson to Person podcast... The LA Business Journal speculates that former LA Times publisher Austin Beutner (and perpetual Times suitor Eli Broad) should be interested in acquiring Los Angeles Magazine, but acknowledges that neither has expressed interest.

People are talking about...

That breathless Q&A with "ABC World News Tonight" anchor David Muir in the LA Times, looking back on two whole years in the anchor seat... Mayor Garcetti Facebooked a video of LA beauty shots from the tourism and convention board. Lots of oohs and ahhs, but you won't see much of the Valley or South Los Angeles there... And Paris Hilton is tweeting from Burning Man.

Media calendar: The LA Press Club roasts and toasts KCRW's Warren Olney Thursday at 7 p.m. in East Hollywood... Barbara Isenberg and Norman Lear converse Sept. 18 at the Whizin Center at American Jewish University...."Bill W: The Creative Force Behind Alcoholics Anonymous" premieres on PBS SoCal Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

[ More media notes -- LA Observed media page ]

Books and authors

The many lives of John le Carré , in his own words, in the Guardian... "111 Places in Los Angeles That You Must Not Miss" will be released Sept. 27... "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead and "Hillbilly Elegy" by
J.D. Vance are the hardcover bestsellers in SoCal independent bookstores right now.


"In a city that is rapidly transforming, there is a temporary oasis to the north that has been left largely unscathed by the current wave of redevelopment and gentrification.The place I’m speaking of is the San Fernando Valley, specifically North Hollywood and Van Nuys." Photo essay by Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin at LA Taco... There Are Too Many Expensive Apartments in U.S. Cities, and That Should Sound the Alarm. Fortune... The race is on between San Francisco and LA to land George Lucas’ Museum of Narrative Art. SF Chronicle... More Angelenos are taking Uber and Lyft — not that traffic is getting any better — and at the same time, parking rates are soaring in Downtown... "The intersection of Fifth and Broadway has long been a notorious spot for drug deals." Downtown News... California and the EPA are poised to expand pollution of potential drinking water reserves, says ProPublica... The Save Porter Ranch protests are shrinking... On Tuesday, St. Stephen Martyr Catholic Church in Monterey Park will host a memorial mass for Juan Gabriel. A big crowd turned out in Mexico City on Monday... Hot rod icon Ed Roth's 1956 Ford F-100 lives at Galpin Ford. ABC7.

In the OC: Seventy years ago this week, Orange County’s most brutally suppressed strike began with a bite. OC Weekly... Not the OC but in OC Weekly: The Life and Times of Malvina Reynolds, Long Beach's Most Legendary (and Hated) Folk Singer.

Up north: The Four-Year Fight to Make San Francisco’s Subway Stop Screaming, in Wired.

Sports: Ex-USC coach Steve Sarkisian joined Alabama’s football staff as an analyst... The Dodgers enter Tuesday with a four-game lead over the Giants, biggest of the year... Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker underwent emergency skull surgery to stop bleeding after he was struck in the head by a hard line drive. He's improving.

[More in the Place section ]

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