A former sales staffer speaks out...
I read the Michael Lacey response to the LA Observed story on the state of affairs at the LA Weekly and practically fell out of my chair. I'm sorry, but is he for real? I happen to know that the recent Best of LA issue (10/6/06) brought in revenue of $2 million, and, in fact, that the LA Weekly is the most profitable of all the VVM properties. Attributing layoffs of writers who are part of the backbone of the LA Weekly to 'budget cutbacks" is laughable at best. If they're cutting the budget it's only because Lacey and company are looking to reap more profits on the backs of loyal advertisers — at the expense of the writers and staff who have made this paper the viable earner that it has become.
Lacey might as well have uttered what seems to be the truth: We want to make money and lots of it. We need to clean house and add staffers we know will follow our agenda with no nostalgia getting in the way of this plan. Period. I'm fairly certain the audience that the paper is so clearly marketing towards these days is not going to care about the direction the paper takes — as long as they have a helpful resource to find where bands are playing and can find a good plastic surgeon without having to page too far into the paper. And long-time readers aren't going to buy the "crying poor" routine.
I left the sales staff at the LA Weekly in July of this year because I could read the writing on the wall. And surely, everything I suspected to be brewing is now unfolding before my eyes. The gutting of a true piece of Los Angeles culture is underway and there is nothing that can stop it. Best now we all seek out and add our favorite investigative news sources' RSS feeds to our bookmark bars and avert our eyes from the carnage that will ultimately be the undoing of a great institution.
Julianne Gorman (formerly known as Julianne Kochenour)