Friday, June 10, 2005

Montorio Seems To Want To Bring "View" Back At The L.A. Times

At a time when every week there seems to be new rumors of cutbacks at the L.A. Times, when whole groups, like the photographers and sports, are told to save money, Deputy Managing Editor John Montorio is dreaming of establishing a new section.

What it amounts to is bringing "View" back, but under the circunstances it's a little like a father wanting a new child when he can't feed the children he has already.

Montorio has named a new pod of reporters to cover fashion, beauty, style, cosmetic surgery, advertising, in short, aspects of Los Angeles life he likes to call "Image." At first, he says, they will have a special page within Calendar, but, later, hopefully a whole new weekly section.

View, for those of us around long enough to remember, was, in its heyday, a big advertising success, drawing enough for some mighty big sections at a time when the late Art Berman and others were in charge.

And the reporters Montorio and Deputy Features Editor Michalene Busico have named -- Molly Avins, Valli Herman, Booth Moore and especially Gina Piccalo -- have good reputations.

The only trouble is that right now some Times historic sections, like Sports, Business and Opinion have been pared back in space so far they have almost become an insult to the readers who remember them when, when they were prosperous and fun to read for the great writing they often had.

Maybe, new sections should wait until there is some good chance to restore the paper to what it was, truly prosperous. In short, bring back a few pages in Sports before adding to Calendar. Montorio wouldn't like that, but it's necessary.

Montorio means well, I'll give him that. But he'd better check with Tribune Co. CEO Dennis FitzSimons to be sure he really means it in his reassuring message to employees today about pensions and other matters. At one point, FitzSimons remarks that the Tribune Co. has an "excellent financial position, including our substantial cash flow and strong balance sheet."

But if this is so, then why all the ongoing costcutting? And why, as FitzSimons himself laments, has the stock price sunk so low? He keeps trying for a bigger profit margin. He cares more for pleasing Wall Street than the readers of his newspapers.

No, if this is time to be thinking about creating a new section, there's some things missing, like realistic thinking and a firm plan. The Times will recover, I fear, only when the paper is sold to a Californian who is a proficient news and advertising manager and as ambitious as Otis Chandler used to be.


Blogger Pacific said...

You are absolutely correct that they should bring a new (relaunched) child back into the world if they can't take care of the ones that they already have. I'm embarrassed about what they call a business section.

That said, I liked the View section and enjoyed looking for the comics which for awhile were never in the same place.

On a more serious note, I have real problems with the editorial aspects of the paper. Whether because of bias or not giving enough time to reporters to do their stories, anything that I read in the paper needs to be augmented or checked online.

If you want to see our take on the paper read:

Please don't be offended by anything we wrote. We know that you had a long career there and we are just writing from the perspective of average joes who read the paper (and have for 30 years).

6/15/2005 4:42 PM  
Blogger Pacific said...

Correction, my 1st paragraph should have said "they should not bring a new..."

I need an editor.

6/15/2005 4:43 PM  

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