Regarding talk show host Hugh Hewitt's recommendations for upending the journalism priorities at the Times as a strategy to save the paper...
Except for the suggestion to make "opinion" writers local, I think these are fairly horrendous suggestions.
I am particularly offended at the suggestion to put the best writers on the "blog," and to just publish everything immediately. We already have blogs galore. Who needs more blogs? (No offense to this one, which is great.)
"Counting the clicks" will lead to lots of stories on Anna Nicole Smith and Van Halen. The newspaper has a public service to provide us with less glitzy material that, yes, not everyone will read. But important people WILL read it. And trust it.
Make the primary focus "the business?" Don't we have Variety for that? The "business" is covered ad nauseum everywhere else. Los Angeles is a major city with all kinds of industries other than entertainment. Ever been to the port? Kinda big, isn't it? How about all those oil rigs perched along the coast?
Anyhow, back to "blogifying" the newspaper. NO THANKS! What makes the newspaper different from an online experience is that the writing is more detailed, more nuanced, more reflective, and less "headliney." When I want to read a newspaper, I want to sit down and READ A NEWSPAPER: book section, sports section, crossword puzzle, and all. I will never read a novel online, and I will never read a newspaper online either.
Make the newspaper the way it was in the 80s. Rich, detailed, high quality. Sure, develop the online component, but not at the expense of your core product: the newspaper itself.
I can't tell from Hugh Hewitt's bio on his web site if he's ever worked in a daily newsroom, but doesn't he realize that "five-tool reporters" would never have time for in-depth reporting or top-shelf writing if they had to file for blogs three times a day? I agree with a lot of what he says about the LAT, but this astounding naivete about what is actually involved in producing quality journalism is a serious flaw in much of the blogosphere's discussion of the future of newspapers.