Turnout of Times People At Del Olmo Book Event Is Shamefully Low
I may have missed a new staffer or two I didn't know, but my belief is that out of scores of Times reporters and editors invited to the event at the Japanese American National Museum, only two showed up, Frank Sotomayor, who was one of the speakers, and Henry Weinstein, who has long demonstrated the authentic interest in diversity that should be the case with all Times staff members.
They prepared a badge for me, reading "Retired Los Angeles Times," which, of course, is an accurate description. And a Times public relations executive was there, because the Times has helped with financing the del Olmo book, a handsome compilation of his outstanding columns. The diligent and conscientious Sotomayor is a co-editor of the del Olmo book.
I couldn't help but remember Shelby Coffey, former Times editor now living in the Washington, D.C. area. He truly believed in diversity and worked hard for it in his years at the Times. He definitely would have been there had he still been editor.
Frank del Olmo was an important member of the L.A. Times staff, and the manner of his death, of an apparent heart attack in the midst of the Times editorial offices, was one of the saddest events at the office in recent years. It happened just 16 months ago.
As Sotomayor recalled in his talk last night, he and del Olmo had been scheduled to meet to discuss important matters related to Latinos at the newspaper and in the Los Angeles community that very noon. Del Olmo suffered his attack just minutes before this meeting.
Manuel Valencia, the veteran Los Angeles PR man, told me that 300 people in all had been invited to last night's event, and about 100 RSVPd. Only about 50 showed up, a mostly Latino crowd, few Anglos in evidence. Valencia did not have the precise number of Times people invited by del Olmo's widow, Magdalena-Beltran del Olmo, a co-editor with Sotomayor, of the book, "Frank del Olmo, Commentaries on His Times." But he said he believed it was very substantial. It certainly was scores.
I know newspersons are busy. But remembering Frank del Olmo is important, and a respect by the white reporters and editors for Latino journalists in Los Angeles is very important. I hesitate to berate a staff for whom I have a great deal of respect, but last night's showing was pretty miserable.
The book is very handsome, but, of course, I have not yet had a chance to read it thoroughly.