LA Observed Notes: USC+LAT, newsroom cuts, local Emmys

crest-for-sale.jpgThe Crest theatre on Westwood Boulevard, a city historic-cultural monument, is for sale. Again. LA Observed photo.

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At the top

USC and the Times: The LA Times keeps breaking new revelations about USC's handling of druggie medical school dean Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito — on Sunday the news was that the paper began to bring the accusations to university officials 15 months ago. "USC’s leaders never responded to the inquiries. Numerous phone calls were not returned, emails went unanswered and a letter seeking an interview with USC President C.L. Max Nikias to discuss Puliafito was returned to The Times by courier, unopened." Great stuff on how USC stonewalled. What now of all the patients Puliafito performed eye surgery on the past 15 months? Sunday's story also peels back the curtain on how long big stories take to get into the paper — and how careful papers are to be fair. Unusual: The Times reporters on the story posted and tweeted a plea to the public for information about Dr. Puliafito.

LA Times buyouts: Friday happened to be departure day for the latest class of LA Times journalists to leave via voluntary buyout. The highest-level name I have heard so far is Bob Sipchen, the assistant Metro editor for specialists, Sunday and enterprise. Sipchen had returned to the Times in 2014 from the Sierra Club. Also: Michelle Maltais, the deputy director of audience engagement, photographer Rick Loomis and George Wilhelm, the photo editor for sports. This buyout targeted veterans with 15 years of experience.

Media cuts everywhere: So Cal News Group newsrooms also got word last week of a reorganization and new buyouts. It "will result in significant changes to the way we operate," says the memo posted by OC Weekly. "We expect to roll out a restructured newsroom plan over the next couple of months. The plan will include an even more aggressive emphasis on digital, a commitment to data-based decision making and new ways of approaching breaking news, enterprise and beat reporting."

LA Area Emmys: KCET led the way with 10 local Emmys on Saturday night. Rival PBS SoCal won two. Nicolette Medina of CBS2/KCAL won for outstanding news writing. NBC4 won in investigative reporting for "Exposing Hollywood Tours" and KCET won in LA Local Color for "Migrant Kitchen." Full list of winners

Media notes

How Trump (and, sigh, Fox News again) Got It Wrong in Saying The NY Times ‘Foiled’ Killing of ISIS Leader... The deleted tweets of new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci: Trump's new communications director hates most of Trump's policies... Sarah Huckabee Sanders is the third female White House press secretary. The first was Dee Dee Myers, who worked in the press office for Mayor Tom Bradley at Los Angeles City Hall before the Bill Clinton White House... The NYT ran an editorial about Sean Spicer that struck some as off key: "Snide editorial on @PressSec beneath @nytimes. Criticisms are fair but snarkiness makes it read like a hissy fit," tweeted former Obama adviser David Axelrod... Mike Allen of Axios on Trump 101: How to speak his language (and who does it right).

Rep. Maxine Waters of Los Angeles is the back-page interview by Ana Marie Cox in Sunday's New York Times Magazine... A NewYorker conversation with Maggie Haberman, "Trump’s Favorite Foe."... "The Atlantic has gotten very good at flipping conventional wisdom upside down," says Margaret Sullivan in her Washington Post media column... Ron Brownstein's weekly news analysis on politics in the Los Angeles Times has ended after 23 years. Here's his final column. He remains a senior editor at the Atlantic... Breitbart’s White House reporter is trying to hold Trump accountable. Seriously.

The Heyday Books version of the LA Times' Dishonest President editorials "stands as a model of bell-clear writing, a convincing denunciation of a bully, a challenge to the nation to reaffirm its founding values, and a call for ordinary citizens to 'rise from our slumbers, to shrug off indifference, to stand up and speak out,'" writes Tom Zoellner at the LA Review of Books... The LA Times' Kate Linthicum in Mexico City: Mexico's bloody drug war is killing more people than ever... How an ex-FBI profiler helped put an innocent man behind bars, by Marisa Gerber in the LA Times... The Public Editor’s Club at The New York Times as told by the six who lived it, in CJR

Media people doing stuff

Sunday's Sacramento Bee op-ed page has opinion pieces by former LA Times editors or writers Leo Wolinsky, Rick Wartzman, Joe Mathews and Roy Rivenburg. Notable that the Bee's opinion section is run by former LAT staff writer Dan Morain and deputy Shawn Hubler, also ex-LAT... Mathews' California columns, which originate with Zócalo Public Square, have been on a run lately. He proposes a freeway corridor across the high desert and waxes on how the Gold Line has a become a brain train... Speaking of Zócalo, longtime managing director Dulce Vasquez is now Director of Strategic Partnerships for Arizona State University and listed as an administrative consultant for Zócalo.

Carolina Miranda, the culture writer and blogger for the Los Angeles Times, was one of eight journalists awarded the $50,000 Rabkin Prize for Arts Writers... National security reporter Josh Meyer wrote Former spy chiefs tear into Trump for Politico and tweeted: "Truly epic, sustained and personal smackdown of a sitting @potus. Unlike anything I've seen in decades of covering this stuff."... Xeni Jardin of wrote first-person for on Why cancer is not a war, fight, or battle... Janice Min herself handles a softball THR interview with Sherry Lansing...

Frank Buckley's latest podcast interview for KTLA: chef Nancy Silverton of Mozza... Gustavo Arellano op-ed in the LA Times: The upside of visible homelessness in Orange County: We can't pretend we're better than everyone... Jerry Sullivan, editor of the Los Angeles Business Journal, was on NPR's On Point talking about the LA bid for the 2024/2028 Olympics... San Francisco Chronicle columnist David Talbot's column ended after six months over the pay they offered him, he says.

Media obit: Clancy Sigal, a novelist, screenwriter, journalist, teacher and blacklisted Hollywood talent agent, died in Los Angeles at age 90. LA Times obit... The LA Times caught up on Friday to Bill Smith, the retired KTLA and KTTV newscaster who we had in last week's notes.

Boyle Heights coffee crisis

Anti-gentrification activists in Boyle Heights have targeted a new coffee place, Weird Wave, because it sells lattes and is "white owned," yet they have given a new Starbucks a pass. Besides looking racist and stupid, or maybe because, the activists are souring locals on their crusade. Weird Wave, which suffered some vandalism last week, had its biggest customer day on Saturday — then got hit again. Steve Lopez has columnized and the Times has editorialized, and OC Weekly editor and KCRW commentator Gustavo Arellano posted on Facebook that he saw it coming:
I've never shared this publicly until now: in late 2015, I sold a script to one of the major networks about gentrification in Boyle Heights. It didn't get to pilot, because network execs said my main character wasn't fleshed out enough--that's fine. But let's just say that, in regards to what's happening around Weird Wave Coffee, I AM A PROPHET. PS, if it had gone to pilot, I would've wanted to cast George Takei as the goofy landlord who has a thing or two to say about Boyle Heights and change.


An analysis of how the media covered LA's recent big-bucks school board races by Alexander Russo in CJR found too much emphasis on the money — and too little on the school issues. "Only now, in the aftermath of the race, are some of the most intriguing issues—controversial changes made at some district schools, budget problems, and campaign strategy—being unearthed."

Trump's golf course on Palos Verdes Peninsula isn't doing so well, the Washington Post finds: Is the presidency good for Trump’s business? Not necessarily at this golf course.

Tom Steyer's rebranding of his activism as NextGen America signals he's taking the fight from California to Donald Trump. LAT

Former City Councilman from the Valley Greig Smith, a reserve LAPD officer assigned to the Cold Case Homicide Unit, closed his first case using DNA evidence: the 2001 fatal stabbing of East Los Angeles resident Alfredo Trevino.

Becca Doten, for 2½ years the Assistant Deputy Controller and statewide External Affairs Director for State Controller Betty Yee, is back in city employ as director of public relations at Los Angeles World Airports.

City Councilman Mike Bonin upped staffers Tricia Keane and David Graham-Caso to be deputy chiefs of staff.


silver-lake-1907.jpgSilver Lake Reservoir in 1907, posted by the Militant Angeleno blog.

The DWP is rehabbing and reopening one of the original 1915 water tunnels across the northern tier of the San Fernando Valley - Daily News

The Valley Performing Arts Center at Cal State Northridge has been renamed the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts - CSUN

Dodgers asking $12 million a year for naming rights to field - Sports Business Journal

Stop Picking on Reseda: There's Much More to Its Story - LA Weekly

Fender builds custom guitars with original bench boards from the Hollywood Bowl - Reverb

The absurd history of the name “The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” - Hardball Times

Selected tweets



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