Murder By Tribune Co. Cost-Cutters of L.A. Times TV Times
Most users never read the notice, and of those who do, few take the trouble to call in, or write in. Then, after the always paltry response, the corporation announces there is so little demand for the feature they are cancelling it altogether. It doesn't mean users haven't liked the feature, just that in the busy world in which we live, most people don't take the time to stand up for the things they like, even if it takes just a few minutes.
That is what is now happening to the L.A. Times weekend TV Times. When Maury Mazur was with the newspaper, TV Times was a tremendous product, listing all important TV programs and explaining what all the movies were about, enough of a summary to enable readers to decide whether to watch them.
Then, as another product of the desire of Tribune Co. CEO Dennis FitzSimons to continually reduce the quality of the L.A. Times, in his jealous rage at California and the former owners, the Chandler family, TV Times began to be diminished, and soon it will be no more.
The downsizing of the Times in general, the cutting of sports and regular news pages, the addition of useless summary pages further reducing the actual news hole, the layoffs of staff, have not been adequately resisted by Times editor Dean Baquet, who likes to have himself named as one of the 100 most influential Los Angelenos, but doesn't quite have the moxie to stand up against all these moves by ignorance, prejudiced outsiders.
It is worth recalling that when Baquet replaced the more resistant John Carroll as editor a year ago, it was put out that he had flown back to Chicago and insisted upon a promise by the Tribune stupes to suspend their downsizing before he would agree to become editor.
That must have been an intentionally false report, because since then Baquet has done nothing that has been successful to stop the Tribune in its tracks. He has laid down as a suicide in front of the speedy cost-cutting train.
Meanwhile, circulation has continued to fall. Most recent reports put it 250,000 below the level it was when Tribune took over in 2000. And month by month, there are further hits taken on Times quality.
If Baquet can't do the job, he ought to resign. His leaving would be the most honorable course.
Meanwhile, all we can do is lament the continue deterioration of the Times product.
On Friday, it was revealed the Times is making at least some telephone calls to subscribers asking whether they want TV Times. This was probably a test of sentiment of the public. It was not suggested how many Times subscribers were being called.