Friday, October 27, 2006


Today's Journalism

Writer and Blogger Cathy Seipp has a wonderfully breezy, near-insider’s reflection up at

National Review Online, discussing the efforts of The Los Angeles Times to remain relevant in a changing media environment.

Seipp claims responsibility for coining Spring Street to describe the LA Times, similar to how Grey Lady describes their New York City counterpart. Seipp demonstrates long familiarity – no doubt breeding considerable contempt – for the Times, and passes along several common criticisms for the LA paper. A couple in particular caught my attention:

Many of the complaints about the Times’ new front-page redesign dwell on how the page looks too similar to USA Today. I stand behind no man when it comes to my distaste for USA Today — when I stay at hotels offering complimentary issues of the traveling salesman’s broadsheet, I always ring up the front desk to demand, “Take it away, take it away, take it away!” — but cynics take a different view.
A TV writer and former magazine editor I know, for instance, once told me he cancelled his L.A. Times subscription to get USA Today instead, which really seems pretty crazy. He added that he just wants the following three questions answered when he reads his morning paper: 1) How are the Dodgers doing? 2) Rain today? 3) What’s on TV?
“Those are the only three answers I want from American journalism,” he noted. “USA Today is perfect.”

In light of all the recent discussion about journalism, embedded or otherwise, and MILBLOGS, I would draw a similar conclusion about mainstream media (MSM) in general.

From opening day till sometime (or late) in August, I want to know how the Red Sox are doing. Sure, I want to know the latest controversies or stupidities, but I get briefed on those (pretty much real time) online.

USA Today? Sure, whatever. Where are the Red Sox these days?

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