Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Frequent Q and A Features An Asset In The L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Times has begun using many more Q and A, question and answer, features, and this is a welcome change in the paper.

The Q and As allow the paper to give concise factual information without attributing it, except in a source attribution at the end of each of the features. It gets past an obligation to attribute nearly everything in controversial articles beyond what the reporters are allowed to say themselves.

These are far more worthwhile than the excessive summaries the paper has been using on Pages 2 and 3 of the A section, which are a waste of space and proof once again that once a bad idea gets adopted, it has a long shelf life. It is a bureaucratic truism that creators of such dead-end innovations are too embarrassed for what they say about the inadequacies of their minds to remove them.

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Rupert Murdoch is organizing a free newspaper in London, and it will be interesting to see whether it cuts into the traditional British publications. Newspapers in general have often been relying more and more on advertising for support and less and less on paid subscriptions. In order to keep circulation up, newspapers, even the L.A. Times, have been willing to enter into year-long subscription sales which make the paper very inexpensive for the readers. A year-long subscription to the L.A. Times costs only $104, a tremendous deal.

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