Feedback on the Times decision to axe columnist Al Martinez after 30-some years, and on the paper's direction more generally, just keep popping up in the LA Observed in-box. This first one excerpts an exchange between Publisher David Hiller and author Daniel Olivas, who's also an attorney in the state building downtown. Since this exchange, the Times began telling readers that Martinez will return once a week in the California section.
Al Martinez has been with the Times for 35 years and has a strong and loyal following. This is the last straw for many readers who have been disturbed by recent events at the Times. So many of my co-workers at the Ronald Reagan Building just shake their heads when the subject of the Times comes up. One of my colleagues has just subscribed to the NY Times; he sadly announced to me: "We have to start getting a real newspaper." This most recent incident involving the ouster of Al Martinez adds to the impression that the Times has lost its way.
My friends and family wonder if the Times will go the way of the Herald-Examiner or the Santa Barbara News-Press. I hope not.
Daniel A. Olivas
Stay tuned as we are talking to Al about ways to keep him in the paper. He (and all of us) are fortunate to have many passionate readers, and you are after all the whole reason we are in business.
Also sent to the Times:
I have never met Mr. Martinez, but he is a long time friend. I have had tea or coffee with him on Monday and Friday morning more years than I care to count. For some strange reason my wife wishes to continue to subscribe to your "newspaper." I do not know why but if it were up to me your delivery person would never slow at my driveway again.
RE Myers MD
With reference to the piece on the departure of West magazine in particular, and in reference to the decline of newspapers in general, I must admit that I don't get it. How does a business that constantly degrades the product upon which it depends to make money continue to stay in business at all? Why do I hear complaints from the bean counters running those businesses that they can't make money unless the product is continually degraded, and then degrade the product again when it fails to return an absurd profit compared to other businesses? I can't stand another reference to śnew media," the changing landscape of journalism, or the like. Someone must step forward and demonstrate that they know how to assemble news and information in a way that attracts readers interested in buying it. The Chandler family only had one person that knew how to do it, but he did a great job. I can't believe that no one else knows how.