Caltech Holds A Significant Briefing On Tsunamis, But L.A. Times Doesn't Cover It
There were four hours of significant discussions. Kerry Sieh, just back from Indonesia, showed the patterns of recent earthquakes off Sumatra. Tom Heaton discussed the tsunami danger in Seattle. Ken Hudnut talked about proposed new GPS buoys that could give Southern California beach cities better tsunami warnings. There were videos showing the surging tsunamis that did strike in South Asia last December.
The Pasadena Star News and Associated Press were there to cover it, but not the Los Angeles Times. Caltech invited me, and I went as a retired newspaperman. Caltech scientists expressed disappointment the Times wasn't there.
Quite a bit of what was said was of obvious interest to Southern Californians. But not a word of what transpired appeared this morning in the Times.
Before retiring last year, I told Managing Editor Dean Baquet and the metro editors that I would be glad, free of charge, to brief a new earthquake reporter for the paper when one was named and introduce him or her to the key scientific sources..
So far, no one has been named, nearly a year later. This is on top of the changes made in my 10th anniversary story on the Northridge earthquake early last year that removed many strong statements about the ongoing quake danger here.
It's what I grew to appreciate the more I knew the new Tribune owners: They have no appreciation of the earthquake (and more remote tsunami) danger that exists in California. They're not keeping up with earthquake safety developments. There even was an editorial last year opposing needed changes in the Field Act protecting California schools against earthquakes. They have little or no interest in these quintessential California issues.
Of course, occasionally there are earthquake stories. They have paid some attention recently to the burgeoning costs of the new spans of the San Francisco Bay Bridge being built to make this vital Bay Area bridge safer in a major quake. But by and large, geological coverage has dropped way off.
Heaton yesterday again stated publicly that he and his associate, John Hall, feel Los Angeles high rise buildings could be in danger if a magnitude 7 earthquake were to be centered downtown. The Tribune-owned L.A. Times doesn't apparently think this is a story worth covering.
People ask why a home-owned paper is an advantage. The failure to cover yesterday's meeting gives us one good reason why.
We're suffering because the top editors of the paper came from Baltimore and New York and the owners are in Chicago..