Saturday, April 16, 2005

L.A. Times Must Use All The Talent It Has To Preserve The Paper

According to L.A. Observed, a useful service to us all operated by Kevin Roderick, Stephanie Simon has rejected an offer to go to the New York Times and will move to Denver and stay with the L.A. Times as a national reporter with a wide portfolio.

This is obviously good news, because Simon is a wonderfully talented reporter. Her story on the new Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield, Ill., runs this morning. But every week Simon, a Yale graduate with particular abilities in crime reporting and so many other areas, is contributing a great deal to the newspaper.

George Skelton, the state political columnist of the LAT based in Sacramento, meanwhile, continues to hold Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a high standard. His column this week reminding us that the governor has not been honest with the state's teachers on giving education back $2 billion he "borrowed" last year, is just one of many public services he performs all the time. Skelton is not easy to con. His knowledge about government and ability to call things the way they are is of inestimable value to the paper.

Skelton could retire at his choice any time. Let's hope he stays on indefinitely, because he is needed and will not be easy to replace. Simon, by contrast, is young. Let's hope she has a long and distinguished career with the L.A. Times.

Yes, the newspaper has a talented editor in John Carroll and managing editor in Dean Baquet. I don't agree with them all the time, but under pressure from Tribune Co. owners who may not always have the paper's interests at heart, they are vital to the paper's continued success.

However, they are obviously not the only talented people the Times has. There are many Simons and Skeltons at the paper, and their talents too must be used, and not just as reporters, if the paper is to prosper.

The L.A. Times' long-range survival is not guaranteed if its circulation continues to slip and if advertising is not retained. And it strikes me that all these people of talent must have ideas that would help the paper in other ways than just reporting.

It may be that a revived and revitalized council of senior writers could provide ideas, could consult, could help the top editors and even the publisher keep this paper going, could help figure out how to use the Internet in new way. And the new publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, should, I believe, try to establish a more prominent position in the area's business life than John Puerner was able to do.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As long as Carroll continues to support a policy of "moral equivalency", I maintain that he does the Times no good at all.

When the Times starts calling Palestinian suicide bombers by their correct name, such as "terrorists", "fanatics" or just plain "murderers" and stops treating them as "freedom fighters" or "militants", perhaps I will reconsider.

There is no difference from the suicide murderers who kill in Iraq, Israel or anywhere else, including Oklahoma City. Why does the Times make that distinction?

It is time John Carroll learned that and changed the policy.

Until then, I submit he is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

A dead fish stinks from the head first.

4/17/2005 2:51 AM  
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