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Quitting her Times habit

Kevin,

Until a few months ago I was a life-long subscriber to The Times. Even when I lived out of Southern California, I kept up my subscription. And when I came back to L.A. and was experiencing a period when I had to be a lot more frugal than is currently the case, I kept up the subscription. And even as the coverage started to go downhill, as the paper became thinner, as in-depth reporting became more and more rare, as investigative reporting to a large extent became a casualty of the Chicago-driven management, I kept up my subscription.

Because The Times was an integral part of my daily life: it was THE place where I could get real news, written by top-notch reporters; it was the entity which I looked to to help me understand what was happening in the city, particularly in terms of local issues and local politics; it was the main vehicle for the public to be able to have eyes and ears watching out for the "public good" and fulfilling its role as part of the "Fourth Estate."

Finally, though, earlier this year, I had had enough. The paper had gone downhill so much that I pulled back to a Sunday-only subscription. This was a big decision for me -- a news junkie, someone with many friends (both past and current) at The Times and to whom I felt a sense of loyalty that had kept me from not wanting to disrespect them in any fashion. But, enough was enough, so I took the big step. No more daily LAT. Yes, I would continue to look at the web site, but would focus on finding most of my local news coverage elsewhere. While also continuing to hope for a turnaround that would be of benefit to all parties: the public, the reporters, the owners.

At that point, I thought things had gone downhill so much that the situation could only improve, not worsen. Clearly, I was wrong. What is happening now is the ultimate insult. It is an insult to the hard-working reporters at the paper and an insult to the public that a paper of this size and (former?) prestige is supposed to serve. Less news, with fewer experienced reporters; more focus on "get it done quickly" and "get it done cheaply" than on any kind of substance; more focus on Hollywood and so-called "celebrity journalism"... And this is how they propose to help turn things around: a newspaper that provides less news? And that this will somehow bring in more readers and more advertisers and thus make more money? Huh!? Duh???

How very sad. How very disappointing.

Emma Schafer
Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum

July 3, 2008 12:34 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

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