Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Complaints Against L.A. Times Changes

It does not come as a surprise that hundreds of Los Angeles Times readers have complained through the Reader's Representative at the paper against a new round of cutbacks instituted Jan. 1.

An impressive 347 readers, according to a report in L.A. Observed do not like the latest shortening of TV Times, taking out, especially, the comprehensive listings between midnight and 7 a.m. Now, we only have highlights. And I remember when it was promised that TV Times was going to be improved, not stripped of features as it has been repeatedly.

Another 124 readers complained about stripping the times for movies from the Thursday Calendar section.

And 110 more complaints came in over the latest deletion of some stock listings.

Do the Easterners in Chicago who own The Times expect that Californians are going to take the piecemeal downsizing of the newspaper lying down. At every hand now, we hear complaints about what the Tribune has done to The Times and accounts of people cancelling their subscriptions.

It raises further question as to whether the sale of Times-Mirror to the Tribune was actually legal. Weren't there numerous reports beforehand that according to the will of Harry Chandler, the papers could not be sold until the last member of Otis Chandler's generation had died?

But it takes someone to bring a case for illegality before the worst transgressions can be challenged, and members of the Chandler family then were so eager to be paid off that no one objected.

It's now an infernal cycle. Circulation falls, advertising reveneues decrease, cutbacks are ordered, and then the circulation falls again. The Times has lost more than a quarter million circulation since the Tribune Co. took over, and there have been major declines at other Times-Mirror papers.

California readers should rise up and complain directly to Chicago. Tell these Easterners to keep the paper a quality institution or sell it back to Californians who will restore that quality.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if an ambition sort wanted to rattle the cage of The Los Angeles Times the best way to do so would be to introduce a little local competition: Start with a blog by one person, and build a readership. Add another writer to the blog at a given time, plus some unintrusive advertising to offset operating costs. Then another writer and another writer, and another, and another,with the intent of this effort being to 1) provide a community news outlet, which The L.A. Times no longer is, 2) provide competition to The Times, 3) provide a news source the Los Angeles area can be proud of.

My two cents.


James C. Hess

1/21/2005 4:43 PM  
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