Another blow to the fourth estate

Robin Rauzi, an articles editor on the LA Times opinion pages, gave notice Wednesday that she's leaving to become head flak at UCLA Live.

This is a big loss for journalism. It's also a major loss for me, as an occasional contributer to the Times' opinion pages. Robin is a sharp thinker who knows how to make a garbled piece sing. She does it not by wielding a bludgeon, but by coaxing the best possible work out of her writers. Robin is a seasoned journalist -- the kind the industry should be doing its damnedest to hang onto. She's been on staff at the Times for 13 years, making her way around the paper's sections, working in the San Fernando Valley, in Calendar and in Travel before moving to opinion a couple of years ago.

When I spoke with Robin earlier today about her decision to leave, she told me that she was sitting at her desk looking at a list of all the freelance writers who were not going to get paid as a result of the bankruptcy filing. Nearly all of her writers are freelance, and I can't imagine what it must be like to be the bearer of that news. She also told me that with all the layoffs, "it's just too sad" to be at the Times right now.

As a writer, I straddle the worlds of MSM and the blogosphere. Many are the times I've cringed at my own unedited -- yet published -- blog copy. In the era of blogs, my deep respect for the work that editors do has only grown. At a time when sloppy stuff called "opinion" is oozing out of every Internet pore, we need good opinion editors more than ever. I know I'm shouting into the wind, but here goes: LA Times, do whatever it takes, but don't let Robin go!

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