Our local majestic L.A. Times informs us that they are losing circulation. They must be hurting real bad, with a 6.5% fall in Monday through Saturday circulation and 7.9% for Sundays.
Executive Vice President Jeff Johnson, who will become publisher of the paper next month, tells us that to help close that gap, the paper will spend $10 million on advertising this year, including direct mail, television and radio campaigns.
Somebody needs to tell them “up there” that the money would be better spent to help create another newspaper.
Los Angeles, the second largest city in the country, has a population of 16 million, and can boast of only one newspaper. Voice-wise this is a one horse town, and that is a shameful, shocking, fact.
San Francisco comes up with the Examiner and the Chronicle (population 7 million).
Seattle has its Post-Intelligencer and Times (3.5 million).
San Diego has The Globe and the Union Tribune (1.24 million).
The Times’ stagnating and boring methods have brought it to the point where it doesn’t just print the news, it “proclaims” the news. After all, why otherwise, since there is no one around to challenge the system.
One cannot help but notice that their news is spread by a myriad of editorializing reporters and journalists, under their own names. If you want to get their ear, well, you probably can. What they practice is a form of wanking.
And for the more readable and arresting voices of dissenters, arguers and debaters, we have to look elsewhere.
The voices that truly challenge the status quo of local government and law enforcers and the courts (and the Los Angeles Times) are to be found in small local publications, such as the Los Angeles Daily News, which covers the Valley.
And to prove my point, their circulation rose slightly, 0.1% for Mondays through Fridays and a small drop of 0.5% on Sundays.
It wasn’t always this way. The old Evening Herald and Express merged with the Los Angeles Examiner back in 1961, and became the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and this Hearst flagship disappeared in 1989, and one wonders why. It should be reborn or reinvented.
One thinks of a lone lawyer, trying to invigorate a community, and not succeeding. Bring in another lawyer in opposition, and sparks can fly.
If the Los Angeles Times is smart and cares about its own health and the health of this city, it will donate the earmarked $10 million to help find a building and fund another newspaper. No, not as an act of pure altruism, but in its own self interest. And they should not retain any ownership whatsoever, just the opposite. They should either GIVE or LOAN the money, and attract independent investors.
The interest of potential readers should not be underestimated, and I have a hunch that Los Angeles citizens will respond with enthusiasm.