L.A. Times Doing A Poor, Confusing Job On Circulation
Perhaps, it's because the customer service lines were outsourced to Wisconsin. When you call the paper, you get a variety of different price offers, but the bottom line is that you can buy the paper these days for $2 a week, that is if they bill you.
But sometimes, they are very dilatory about billing you.
Knowing that my subscription, $104 for the past year, was running out Nov. 4, I called the paper several weeks ago, and was told that I could have the $2 rate extended six months. I said, fine, could I stop in at the offices downtown and pay the bill? No, the customer service rep said, we will bill you.
But a month has gone by and I haven't been billed yet. The paper is still coming, however.
Pardon me, if I have a sneaking suspicion that one reason there are more layoffs coming at the Times is that they aren't collecting for subscriptions in a timely manner. They don't even seem to have a means by which you can walk in and pay the bill. You can't even talk to a Californian any more when you call the subscription lines.
Now, according to Kevin Roderick in L.A. Observed, the paper has begun telling callers that they can look forward to a more conservative lineup of columnists, or at least some more conservative columnists.
Wonderful! Los Angeles voted for McGovern years ago against Nixon. It just massively voted against Schwarzenegger's ballot measures in the special election. There is every reason to believe the odds are that whoever is told to expect more conservative columnists is most likely to be a liberal.
It's just another sign that these Chicago transplants or Wisconsin know-nothings don't know what they are doing.
Then, Roderick reports, there is the new publisher, Jeff Johnson's, response to a subscriber who contacted him to protest the ouster of leftwing columnist Robert Scheer.
According to this subscriber, a letter soon came back from Johnson, saying:
"For the past 12 years, Bob's passion and eloquence have enriched the opinion pages of the Times, where he previously worked as a reporter. We are grateful for his contributions. However, we are very excited about our new roster of columnists, who are described in more detail in the attached..."
What a phony, unresponsive letter! If Johnson can't be better than that, he should be withdrawn to Chicago, just as the French Government used to periodically withdraw the emissaries they sent to rebellious Algeria in the days of the Third Republic.
Johnson now has responsibility for the editorial pages, since editor Dean Baquet, unwisely in my point of view, declined to take that responsibility. Since Johnson took over, there has been little improvement. Now, it turns out Johnson can't even write a meaningful letter.
The new columnists thus far seem bland and uninteresting. I was usually in disagreement with Scheer, but it's beginning to seem like it was a mistake to get rid of him, especially since neither Johnson nor editorial pages editor Andres Martinez is able to explain why he was ousted.
The truth is, things at the Times are getting worse, far worse.