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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Media Links

News War: The LA Times vs. Tribune and Readers Lose - Fishbowl LA
KCET broadcast Frontline's series News War last night, as counter programming for American Idol, never guessing that someone could actually want to watch both. This episode, What's Happening to the News, which examimes the struggles of the LA Times, will repeat this Friday and the website has the whole series.

LA Times Erin Kaplan confirms she's out - LAObserved
I'm disappointed but not very surprised, given the state of the Trib," she tells LA Observed. "They said they were cutting 2 others, but not sure who".

Stephen Talbot was online Wednesday - Washington Post
Thank you, thank you for finally using airtime to show the steady demise of original reporting. I hope your story has some effect particularly for the reporters at the Los Angeles Times. Wall Street says we all want "info snacking" and local news -- we don't.

Mark Cuban in Megabucks Bid for Cubs - Fresh Intelligence
Billionaire blogger Mark Cuban is more serious about buying a major league baseball team than he's been letting on. The tech entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner is set to offer $625 million to buy the Chicago Cubs from Tribune Co., according to a source familiar with the matter.

Can Sam Zell save Tribune from itself? - Blogging Stocks
With all of the hubbub surrounding Tribune Co. (NYSE:TRB), you would think that the company was some red-hot startup that throngs of companies were eager to buy. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Message from Easy Writer --subscriber of the LAT

You know, I can't pinpoint ALL the blame on David Hiller, the Tribune company or any number of other publishers in the US for the way news is being covered today. Yet, as Ed has written in an earlier post, The Good Old Days are gone. I don't want to slide away on the cliché that the LA Times is a great paper, because at one time, it truly was. It had more impact on my life than any local TV news program. It's not the fishwrap that some people like to pretend it is, there are still great people employed at the Times, the men and women who print it are among the very best. Yet, I can't help but notice that some of this 'hybridizing' is less than great.

I have noticed a blurring of editorial lines when the online edition features bloggers such as Tom O'Neil and Elizabeth Snead. Just recently, Snead's contribution to journalism was to show the unstraightened teeth of Johnny Depp's girlfriend. Her reaction was something akin to "yuck." This isn't even "soft news." This is nothing but... well....petty gossip.

And so I'm supposed to get excited about this? I'm supposed to believe that Johnny Depp's girlfriend's teeth are "relevant to our region?"

I hope not. I hope this isn't the dumbing down that we're expected to endure. The Travel Section and The Envelope are two things that are the most irrelevant things to my life, however, the contents of both are consistently overreported by every other news media outlet in the nation, indeed the world. Therefore, it seems relevant, but in actuality, it's clutter for the brain.

What does The LA Times have in common with the The Guardian, The Times of India, The NY Times, and The Sydney Morning Herald?

Each reported that Nicole Kidman wore a red dress with a red bow.


While it seems inevitable to some that the print edition might go down to tabloid size; to others that the editorial section will shrink; and the opinion of some that good writers will be laid off and turn to blogging, it's not necessarily a welcome change. It's more like a sad good-bye, and a hello to an increasing homogenization of the news.

While I enjoy the worldliness of the news, it's a sidenote to know the weather in London. Here's what I want to know: who is going to follow the local stories that affect this region? Is the Travel Section and The Envelope going to be given more resources than the reporters covering city hall, where taxpayer dollars are spent each day? Who is going to report Villagairosa's takeover of the schools? Who is going to report on the LAPD? The overdevelopment of desert lands? The critical water shortage facing us? The issue of overpopulation of this city and also the state? And what about this war in Iraq? How is it affecting the local economy? How are the medical needs of the soldiers being handled by the local VA? What's going on with the warfare on our own city streets?

Or maybe, as The Travel Section and The Envelope suggests, most people aren't just interested in these things anymore. The readers have simply stopped caring. I sure hope not.

RIP Rubén Salazar. Boy, would he have hated this watering down.

Message From Jim O"Shea - Editor LAT

From: Wolinsky, Leo
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 3:10 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: On behalf of Jim O'Shea

Colleagues,

Unfortuately [sic] I am not in the newsroom today. I am in New York for the L.A. Times Book Prizes. I did want to address the Frontline piece involving The Los Angeles Times, though.

I found it to be simplistic and excessively negative about the future of the newspaper industry and the L.A. Times. The piece lacked balance and sophistication and relied on stereotypes.

I know there was also concern about quotes from Charles Bobrinskoy at Ariel Capital. Mr. Bobrinskoy knows as much about newspapers and the needs and news appetites of the readers of The Los Angeles Times as I know about astrophysics. Everyone should keep in mind that "analysts" of the stock market are the same ones who advised people to buy stocks such as Enron. I could fill the Grand Canyon with the misinformation that people such as Bobrinskoy have spread. So I think everyone should look at his comments in that context. I have never heard anyone at Tribune Company advocate that The Los Angeles Times should become a paper without foreign or national bureaus. I doubt he represents anyone's views but his own. I certainly don't think he is right and I would never have agreed to be your editor if such a preposterous proposal were part of any deal.

The Los Angeles Times is a great newspaper with a great staff. We face challenges, and they won't be easy to overcome. But we will do it. We will figure out solutions to these problems and lead the industry to a bright and better future. Thanks so much for all of your hard work.

Jim.

Source LAObserved

New on Easy Writer: Britney --Leave Her Alone

We don’t need to repeat here what all has befallen Britney Spears. There is a consistently mean-spirited edge in our media, who reports on the foibles and tragedies of her life as though they were bears following the scent of a salmon struggling to swim upstream. Drugs, alcohol, bad choices in men, stupid things she's said or done, her appearance. There's nothing about Britney that isn't reportable or revealed by people who are supposed to be "trustworthy sources."

Continued on Easy Writer

Cost Cutting Measures at Olympic


As costs are trimmed we see many changes at our workplace, like the van security once used at the left.









Was replaced by what I assumed was an electric vehicle, actually has what sounds like a lawnmower engine powering it, for security to patrol the grounds with at Olympic.

Take Back the Times: Stock Analysts Show Contempt For LAT On Frontline

Take Back the Times: Stock Analysts Show Contempt For LAT On Frontline

When Los Angeles entrepreneur Eli Broad appeared on the program, he said that if he obtained ownership of the L.A. Times, he would be satisfied with a return on his investments of as little as 5 to 8% a year, as compared to the 20% that Tribune has been demanding.

This drew only contempt from Bobrinskoy, who observed that only a private owner, not a shareholder, would ever take such a position.

Greed -- not the public interest -- is the only salient characteristic of Wall Street. That came through clearly on the program.

The Good Old Days Are Gone

Over the past two years I have been urging my colleagues in Operations to destroy their credit cards and be prepared for the worst. Last night’s News Wars only amplified my fears on the future of print media, especially the newspaper I print daily, the Los Angeles Times.

When the chairman of the New York Times is quoted saying “I really don’t know weather we’ll be printing the Times in five years,” and you produce a hard copy of your local newspaper, you either sit up and pay attention or you play it off and pretend it was not said.

As my co-workers and I chat over coffee and cigarettes, I bring comments like this up, and I’m rebuffed with “Why would people like David Geffen offer two-billion dollars for the Los Angeles Times, if the print side of the newspaper will be history in five years?” My answer is an easy one; newspapers are turning to the Internet for their future.

The publisher of the Los Angeles Times, David Hiller, attempted yesterday to ease the fears of his employees with a memo, which only made my point much clearer.

"If you want a real look at the future of The Times - and have only a limited amount of time - I would spend it with our new Travel section and website which debuted wonderfully on Sunday. I would also check out The Envelope's glorious Oscars coverage, again integrated print and online; and utilize the new MYLatimes feature on our site to get a true gauge of what we are doing to be relevant to our region".

Mr. Hiller makes five points regarding the online edition of the newspaper, and one mention of the hard copy of the newspaper. It’s rather easy to see that the newspapers of the future will focus their efforts to the online editions, or fade away to extinction.

As the Los Angeles Times prepares to trim yet another two inches of the newsprint from the newspaper, talk of taking the newspaper to forty-six inches are already circulating around the pressroom. I wonder how much further we can trim the newspaper down before becoming a tabloid?

The next four weeks will be tense for production employees across the country as the outcome of the Tribune Company sale is revealed.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

News Wars

I just finished watching News Wars on Frontline, and they certainly painted a gloom picture for Operation employees of the Los Angeles Times.

I’m interested in hearing from anyone else that viewed the documentary, and your opinions.

There is much more I have to say about this program, but I need to cancel a few things that cost money right now.

Status Symbols

Tonight when I came home, I was greeted with the news that my daughter had accidentally washed her iPod. She was, understandably, full of regret and sad over her mistake. She is a responsible child, a GATE student who regularly earns A's, helps around the house and even does her own laundry. Which, by the way, is how the iPod got washed. She decided to wash a load of clothes and her iPod was in the pocket of her jeans.

I walked into her room and gathered her up in my arms. She looked at me and asked if I thought it might play again once it dried out. (If anyone knows the answer to that one, please leave me a comment.) I told her I wasn't sure but we could certainly try it over the weekend. Then she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, "Well, it's just a thing. It's not like something bad happened to you." My eyes filled with tears because this child has lived through losing her father and it wasn't until tonight that I realized how much that had impacted her. She is human, though, and the iPod was her "status symbol". It was the thing that made her feel cool and part of her crowd.

I guess we all need status symbols on some level. The important thing is that we don't let our status symbols become the most important thing in our lives. As my daughter said, it's just a thing.

Message From Russ Staton - LAT Innovation Editor

To: The Staff
From: Russ Stanton, Innovation Editor

Tracy Boucher, copy desk chief in Features, has been named deputy innovation editor. In her new post, Tracy joins Aaron Curtiss as one of two senior-level editors helping all of us figure out how to best combine our print and online newsrooms into one larger journalistic operation.

Tracy is uniquely suited to this challenge, bringing an intimate knowledge of the Features operation - literally from 1st Street to 2nd Street - as well as a different perspective from the production end. She wins high marks from both colleagues and supervisors for her outstanding news judgment, frightening organizational skills (she's making a list about something right now) and great way with people.

Tracy joined The Times as a copy-editing intern in Calendar in 1992. She became a full-time copy editor in 1993, in the Orange County edition, where she rose to assistant copy desk chief. She moved downtown in 2002, where she has split her time between Features (specifically, Food, Home, Health, TV Times) and the Metro desk.

Before The Times, Tracy was a copy editor at The Orange County Register and an intern and part-time copy editor at the St. Petersburg Times and Orlando Sentinel. She is a 1992 graduate of the University of Florida.

Tracy is a Florida native and by way of association a football fan, which explains her fascination with the powerhouse that is her alma mater (we'll be wearing lots of blue and orange, I fear) and which this year could beat the other object of her desire, the Miami Dolphins.

Source LAObserved

Message From David Hiller - Publisher LAT

Tonight PBS's Frontline will air Part III of their series "News Wars: What's Happening to the News" (KCET at 9:00 p.m.). The program focuses on challenges and developments in the news business, and gives a lot of attention to The Times. Jim O'Shea and I were both interviewed for the program, as were Dean Baquet, John Carroll and a bunch of other people. I'm told they chose, for whatever reason, not to include any of their interview footage with Jim and I'm not sure how many minutes of the hour and half I spent with them they will use. You may want to check it out.

If you want a real look at the future of The Times - and have only a limited amount of time - I would spend it with our new Travel section and website which debuted wonderfully on Sunday. I would also check out The Envelope's glorious Oscars coverage, again integrated print and online; and utilize the new MYLatimes feature on our site to get a true gauge of what we are doing to be relevant to our region.

These things, these new things, are the way forward.

David

Thank you Kevin Roderick LAObserved

Los Angeles Times Ron Brownstein Shifts to Op-Ed

LOS ANGELES, Feb 27, 2007 -- The Los Angeles Times Media Group announced today that, effective immediately, veteran political analyst and longtime Times journalist Ron Brownstein will join the opinion team as National Affairs Columnist to write a weekly Op-ed column, longer pieces for the paper's weekend Current section and be a regular contributor to latimes.com. Brownstein joined The Times in 1989 and his weekly "Washington Outlook" column analyzing national politics and government has been one of the paper's most consistent must-reads since 1994.

"The Times will benefit immensely from having Ron Brownstein's authoritative voice on the op-ed page," said David Hiller, publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. "His mastery of both politics and policy, and his gift for taking the news and framing it in a broader context make him a natural columnist for the ages."

Brownstein is the author or editor of five books, and his sixth, "The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America," will be published by Penguin Books this fall. He was a Pulitzer finalist for his coverage of the 1996 and 2004 presidential campaigns, and has won numerous other awards. He was famously singled out by President Bill Clinton as the political reporter from whom he'd learned the most. In addition, Brownstein's regular TV news program appearances throughout the years have made him a familiar face to millions of Americans.

Readers and users can expect the first of Brownstein's columns on March 14, 2007.

About the Los Angeles Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of nearly 2.2 million and about 3.3 million on Sunday. The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates -- including latimes.com, TheEnvelope.com, Times Community Newspapers, Recycler Classifieds, Hoy, and California Community News -- are read by approximately 8.1 million or 62% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace every week.

The Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 125 years and is part of Tribune Company (TRB), one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available at www.latimes.com/mediacenter.

SOURCE Los Angeles Times Media Group

LAT Channel Island Blog


With no new messages posted since December 29th, 2006, it appears Channel Island could be the next Los Angeles Times Blog to become history online.

Tuesday Morning Linkage

Bronstein Comes to Aid of Former Rival Roberts - Editor & Publisher
Fast forward five years and either time, distance, or journalistic ethics have brought the two former competitors together for a unified cause. Bronstein plans to be one of several speakers at a fundraising roast for Roberts, who is raising money to fight an arbitration case filed against him by owners of the Santa Barbara News-Press, his former employer.

Nikki Finke to Return to the LAT? - Fishbowl LA
Los Angeles Magazine has a few suggestions for "fixing" the LAT -- one of them being that the paper of record lure Nikki Finke away from her post at LA Weekly.

Old Media, New Media - Broadcasting and Cable
U.S. media companies announced they were slashing a total of 17,809 jobs in 2006, 88% more than in the year before, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a New York-based global outplacement firm that tracks layoffs. The cuts reflect a grim reality for these media giants: Staying ahead often means cutting heads. As viewers shift their media-consumption habits, TV operations are forced to take a hard look at how they have been run and staffed for years. And in many cases, they've realized, they just don't need the same people they used to.

I Left My (New Delhi Freelancer) in San Francisco - East Bay Express
Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle will include a special advertorial supplement with articles penned by freelancers operating out of India. The stand-alone annual supplement, Perspectives, covers different business segments such as automotive, health, fitness, education, and retail (this year’s supplement includes biotech). This will mark its fourth year of publication, but the first time the content has been produced offshore.

False Profits - Slate
When McClatchy Co. sold its Minneapolis Star Tribune to a private equity gang for $530 million at the end of 2006, the teensy price paid stunned even the self-pitying newspaper industry: It was less than half the $1.2 billion McClatchy had paid for the paper in 1998.

Otis Chandler - The Man the Publisher


It’s hard to believe how quickly time flows by in life, as in death. It was one year ago today that we lost Otis Chandler. Our Tribune Boss’ would love it if Otis was forgotten, yet many of us old timers at the newspaper will not forget him.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Farewell Postcards From Paris

As the Los Angeles Times weeds out the least popular blogs, Postcard From Paris is the first of many Times Blogs to bite the bullet. I’m not certain how many blogs will be dropped at this time, but the most active blogs will remain, like the Laker Blog, The Bottleneck Blog, and the Homicide Blog.

The latest addition, The Daily Deal, appears like a winner already, at least with myself.

Here’s the possible last post from Postcards From Paris:

Adieu Paris!

(Bestselling author Elliott Hester is the guest blogger for February)

On Feb. 25, the Los Angeles Times Travel section launches a new format for its print and online editions. Unfortunately, “Postcards from Paris” will not survive the change. The blog has been canceled. C’est terrible! C’est injuste! I’ve enjoyed sharing my Paris experiences with you. I’ve especially enjoyed your comments, good, bad and otherwise. The only thing better than a friendly pat on the back is a friendly disagreement. I hope you feel the same way.

Sincerely, Elliott Hester

Sunday, February 25, 2007

LA Cowboy: Will The Grave Dancer Dance On The LA Times' Grave?

LA Cowboy: Will The Grave Dancer Dance On The LA Times' Grave?

Mr. Zell, 66, has never owned a major media property, but gained the nickname the “Grave Dancer” for his ability to spot and exploit undervalued properties in the real estate business.

Take Back the Times: FitzSimons Returns To Tactics That Don't Work

Take Back the Times: FitzSimons Returns To Tactics That Don't Work

Dennis FitzSimons, incorrigibly inept CEO of the Tribune Co. is apparently back to the same tactics he used that didn't work last June. He wants to assume more debt, and cut back the Tribune's faltering newspapers even more.

That is unless he accepts a last-minute proposal from Chicago real estate magnate Sam Zell to buy the company. But that too would mean assuming more debt, and probably cutting back newspapers outside Chicago. Has Zell even visited Los Angeles?

Tribune Considers Offer From Real Estate Magnate

The Tribune Company, in discussions about its future, is weighing a proposal from Sam Zell, the Chicago real estate maverick and billionaire who sold his huge office development company this month for $39 billion in the biggest leveraged buyout ever.

A special committee of Tribune board members was close to settling on an internal overhaul when Mr. Zell made a last-minute entry into the discussions, people close to the situation said.

His bid for Tribune all but eliminates other offers — including one from the Los Angeles billionaires Ronald Burkle and Eli Broad — from consideration.

Complete story in New York Times

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Sunday Morning Media News

Are You There Sam? It's Me, Blogger - Washington Post
So last week I chose not to mention the fact that Chicago Tribune ace NBA writer and resident old person Sam Smith hates bloggers. With Leather's Sam Smith takedown was swift and painless, and I figured he had sort of handled the issue. Also, With Leather used a naughty word as a tag, which I'm not allowed to do.

Moving Printing Presses Video - Post Register
Next door to the press room at the new PPC is the CTP room, and it now has tile on the floor. CTP stands for computer-to-plate, a state-of-the-art process that takes full pages from a computer to the metal plate that is placed on the press and prints the actual images you see on your copy of the paper.

Microsoft, Hearst unite to deliver newspapers online - SFGate
Microsoft Corp. and Hearst Corp. unveiled a software service Thursday that allows newspaper readers to download stories and read them even when not connected to the Internet. The News Reader, which is now available to readers of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, enables readers to automatically transfer a sampling of stories from the newspaper's Web site onto their computers by clicking on a desktop icon.

Post-Gazette Union Approves Deal - Houston Chronicle
The newspaper's management sought union concessions due to several years of operating losses. The Post-Gazette has said that it has lost $23 million since 2003, and it has predicted a further operating loss of $20 million this year. The newspaper reported in October that its daily circulation in the last six months had plummeted from 230,887 to 212,075 and its Sunday circulation declined from more than 382,000 to just under 355,000.

LAT Book Review in for a change - LAObserved
Newsroom sources at the Times expect the Sunday Book Review will be folded into a new hybrid opinion section and delivered in Saturday papers. The new section that some staffers have seen would be tabloid-sized, with the favored format apparently using dual front pages like the New York City tabs.

Newspapers brought financial woes upon themselves - Outlaw.com
Newspapers had a pre-internet monopoly on readers' attention which meant that classified advertising became an extremely profitable part of their business. Since the advent of classified advertising, online margins have been eroded. Since the almost entirely free Craigslist became utterly dominant across the US, publishers say margins have plummeted.

The Lights Are On At The LA Times - But no One is Home - LA Cowboy
Now I have done a lot of nagging about headline writers at the LA Times and the even worse ones on the website - who write headlines that contradict the content of stories. I have also mentioned the pissed off LA Times writers who regularly inform me of their unhappiness with headlines appended to their stories which distort what they have written.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Was this a Case of Assault or Not?

Former LA Voice Blogger, Mack Reed, brought this short video to my attention in a post seen on Metro-Blogging LA.

Watch this video of Carson Public Works Commission Chairman Jan Schaefer get smacked lightly at a Carson City Council meeting and totally overreact! Mayor Jim Dear wants Vera Robles Dewitt (assailant, and owner of Carson Bail Bonds) arrested! See this video at SouthBayChat.com!



Is this a case of assault or just a good act by Ms. Schaefer? You be the judge.

Peninsula Press Club: Chron takes hits for protecting Balco source

Peninsula Press Club: Chron takes hits for protecting Balco source

Tim Rutten of the LA Times called the conduct of the two reporters "sleazy and contemptable." Rutten writes:

"There's more at stake here than just an abstract preoccupation with journalistic ethics or the trade-school mechanics of handling sourcing in news stories. Journalists consumed with a self-interest so strong that it makes them the willing dupes of manipulative sources report what they're meant to report and not the information the public has a right to know."

New Owners of Tribune Company - Employees

Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed has a reaction to this mornings proposal regarding the future of the Tribune Company.

"The Chicago Tribune reports that Zell is proposing a deal in which his firm would work with an employee stock ownership plan to buy up all of Tribune stock and then take the company private. There are a couple of obvious plusses: ESOPs allow writeoffs on the money used to pay back the debt taken on to buy the company; and it gets the Chandler family, which currently owns 20 percent of Tribune and has been a huge pain in the neck, out of the picture. Of course, it also means that Tribune employees would be the new owners of what's currently a pretty lousy company."


Employee Stock Ownership Plan at Tribune

If the uneasy feelings among Pressroom Employees, at the Tribune’s Los Angeles Times property, are to be used as a gauge for all Tribune workers, it could be best described as in a state of uncertainty.

Speculation on what direction the Tribune Company chooses will be answered sometime next month. With employees wondering if that path will be beneficial to themselves or the board members.

Two weeks ago billionaire real-estate mogul, Sam Zell, entered the picture, and proposed this morning in Chicago to using the tax breaks given to ESOP’s. The Zell proposal would create a privately held company, and give a larger payoff to existing shareholders.

What the tax consequences will be for the employees is anyone’s guest, if we receive a large payoff from this latest proposal?

New Los Angeles Times Blog -Travel






The Los Angeles Times has launched yet another blog, that was brought to my attention by LAObserved, titled Daily Deal. The blog is written by Jen Leo, an authority on travel, and respected by the travel industry and blogosphere.

After a quick scan of the new blog, my attention was drawn to the travel deal to my favorite destination, Cozumel, Mexico. Have not read the deal yet, but I will as soon as I find the time.

Jen Leo

Blogging 101 for LAT Staff

From: Stanton, Russ
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 1:05 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: Newspaper/website update, Ch. 2
February 23, 2007

Training: The staff-wide Internet 101 sessions will begin Monday, March 5, in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. The masthead got a preview of the presentation last week and it has since been tweaked and shortened. Next week, you'll be getting an email from Editorial Hiring & Development telling you how to sign up for one of the sessions. (If you're in a bureau other than DC, OC, San Francisco or Sacramento, you'll be getting a copy of the presentation on CD-ROM). The two other classes are technical in nature and are for the copy desk and key assignment editors in each section. They are learning Assembler, the program we use to post stories and improve story flow online. Those classes already have begun, enabling those folks to immediately being to improve their web reports and add interactive features to more of our stories.

Standards & Practices Committee: The mission of this committee, as outlined by Jim O'Shea, is to explore how we meet the challenge of becoming a more engaging destination on the internet without compromising our journalistic integrity. This group will meet twice a month beginning in early March. Here are its members:

Robert Burns, Graphics
Mike Castelvecchi, Ext. News Desk
Tami Dennis, Health
Dan Gaines, latimes.com
Tim Garrison, latimes.com
Jamie Gold, Readers' Rep
Alan Hagman, Photo
Catharine Hamm, Travel
Dan Loumena, Sports
Loree Matsui, Copy desk
Lorenza Munoz, Business
Jim Newton, Metro
Rich Nordwind, Calendar
Lorraine Wang, Design
Bettie Rinehart, latimes.com
Cary Schneider, Editorial Library
Eric Ulken, latimes.com
Leo Wolinsky, Managing Editor

Thanks to the dozens more who volunteered to serve on this one. Next up is the Redesign Committee, whose members we hope to announce in early March.

Blogs: The two new blogs on latimes.com -- Jill Leovy's Homicide and Metro's Bottleneck -- are off to spectacular starts, having leaped to 2nd and 3rd respectively in terms of traffic. They trail only the vaunted Lakers effort. These new blogs are models of what we're looking for: local team, local issue, local insight. They are updated several times each day, are passionate about their subject matter and regularly reach outside the building to pull the community into the discussion. If you haven't already, check them out at homicide report and bottleneck ... Meanwhile, the moratorium on new blogs remains in effect while all of our current and aspiring bloggers go through a boot camp run by Bettie Rinehart, Managing Editor of Reader Interactivity. Their training begins the week of March 12th. The successful cadets will be released into the atmosphere in late March and given several months to find an audience. We'll keep the ones that do well and shutter the ones that don't.

Oscar online: Sunday night is TheEnvelope.com's biggest of the year. The website will be posting real-time photos of stars as they arrive on the red carpet, and Susan King will provide a live blow-by-blow blog of the telecast. If you need an early fix, this is the place to get it.

Meredith on the web: USC Annenberg's Online Journalism Review has a nice interview with Meredith Artley, the incoming executive editor of latimes.com. She starts here on Wednesday, March 21. Check it out at http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/0720junnarkar/

Russ Stanton
Innovation Editor
Los Angeles Times

Source: LAObserved

Friday, February 23, 2007

Tribune likely to try 'self-help' plan

Management is expected Saturday to ask the company's directors to review a reorganization and recapitalization.

By James Rainey, Times Staff Writer
3:22 PM PST, February 23, 2007

Excerpt

With no clear premium offered by a handful of bidders and its auction already extended once, Tribune management is expected Saturday to ask the company's directors to review a reorganization and recapitalization. The plan would split the company into separate broadcast and newspaper divisions, pay a dividend of up to $20 per share and sell two small Connecticut papers, according to two people familiar with the proposal.

[snip]

Several Tribune managers said they are anxious about the company's "self-help" proposal because, like Broad and Burkle's plan, it would require heavy borrowing to pay the large dividend. They worried the company would face new pressure from its lenders to cut costs and reduce staff. That situation could become even more severe if the company cannot find a way to take itself private and out of the reach of public shareholders.

One Tribune manager, who asked to remain anonymous so as not to anger his bosses, said: "It sounds like the worst of both worlds."

Continue reading story at Los Angeles Times

Revenues Down 5.0% in January for Tribune

CHICAGO, Feb 23, 2007 -- Tribune Company (TRB) today reported its summary of revenues and newspaper advertising volume for period 1, ended February 4. Consolidated revenues for the period were $442 million, down 5.0 percent from last year's $465 million.

This year's period 1 reflects difficult comparisons to 2006 in several key publishing categories. In addition, because of the 53rd week at the end of 2006, Tribune's 2007 reported results by period are impacted by reporting periods that end one week later. The company indicated that period 2 ad revenue trends are better than period 1 in both publishing and broadcasting, particularly retail revenue in publishing.

Publishing revenues in January were $345 million compared with $367 million last year, down 6.0 percent. Advertising revenues decreased 7.3 percent to $268 million, compared with $289 million in January 2006.

-- Retail advertising revenues decreased 5.6 percent due to overall retail softness following the holiday season. Weakness in department stores and furniture/home furnishings was partially offset by strength in health care. Preprint revenues, which are principally included in retail, were down 4 percent.

-- National advertising revenues declined 3.2 percent; weakness in the auto category was partially offset by strength in movies.

-- Classified advertising revenues decreased 11.9 percent. Real estate fell 9 percent, help wanted declined 11 percent and automotive decreased 22 percent. Interactive revenues, which are primarily included in classified, were $20 million, up 17 percent, due to growth in all categories.

Circulation revenues were down 5.2 percent due to single copy declines and continued selective discounting in home delivery.

Broadcasting and entertainment group revenues in January decreased 1.4 percent to $97 million compared with $98 million last year. Television revenues fell 1.5 percent; weakness in auto and retail was partially offset by strength in restaurant/fast food and telecom. Radio/entertainment decreased 0.7 percent.

This press release contains certain comments or forward-looking statements that are based largely on the Company's current expectations and are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties. Such comments and statements should be understood in the context of Tribune's publicly available reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including the most current annual 10-K report and quarterly 10-Q report, which contain a discussion of various factors that may affect the company's business or financial results. These factors could cause actual future performance to differ materially from current expectations. Tribune Company is not responsible for updating the information contained in this press release beyond the published date, or for changes made to this document by wire services or Internet service providers. The Company's next 10-K report to be filed with the SEC may contain updates to the information included in this release.

TRIBUNE (TRB) is one of the country's top media companies, operating businesses in publishing, interactive and broadcasting. It reaches more than 80 percent of U.S. households and is the only media organization with newspapers, television stations and websites in the nation's top three markets. In publishing, Tribune's leading daily newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.), The Sun (Baltimore), South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant. The company's broadcasting group operates 23 television stations, Superstation WGN on national cable, Chicago's WGN-AM and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Popular news and information websites complement Tribune's print and broadcast properties and extend the company's nationwide audience.

SOURCE Tribune Company

Los Angeles Crime Map

If you work or live in Los Angeles the Los Angeles Police Department has a tool for you. Follow this link for a crime map of your area, if you don’t have an address for Los Angeles, use my work address. 2000 East 8th Street, 90021.

LA Times Launches Fully Integrated Travel Redesign

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 23 -- The Los Angeles Times Media Group will debut a new print Travel section and preview its rich-content online companion (http://travel.latimes.com) on Sunday, February 25, the first of several upcoming product launches that demonstrate the company's commitment to editorial integration and focus on providing consumer utility. Travel will emphasize local and regional destinations important to Southern Californians including those throughout the state, Mexico, Hawaii and Las Vegas, as well as offer full-service access to research and trip-planning tools including an online travel booking engine powered exclusively by Expedia.com(R). Offering both inspiration and execution, Travel's print and online components comprise a powerful whole that is unique among websites.

"Our new travel offerings bring rich multimedia content and robust personal utility to the Southland traveler," said David Hiller, publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Times. "Our readers and advertisers want a print section that both inspires and informs and a website that gives our readers the nuts and bolts that will help them execute their dream trips."

With a premium placed on enhanced photography, outdoor and adventure travel, off-the-beaten path destinations and significant new online features including interactive reviews and ratings and highly functional research, Travel is designed to mobilize Southern Californians and appeal to Angelenos with energy and style. latimes.com users can share candid feedback and opinions on hotels, restaurants, and attractions, and a new message board offers a forum to learn and share travel ideas and tips on specific destinations and interest areas. Extending beyond the individual print and online mediums, Travel delivers The Times distinct journalistic perspective, enhanced personal utility and creates a viral, self-sustaining community.

"The Times is dedicated to delivering news, information and tools that exceed the expectations of our readers and users," said Innovation Editor Russ Stanton. "Travel combines the best of print and online editorial with the immediacy of interactive commerce to bring near and far destinations a little closer."

latimes.com visitors can access Expedia(R) travel deals, online booking technology and deep travel content, as well as the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions and services. Other features include a daily "Deal Blog" from The Times travel experts, both editorially selected and user- submitted photos and access to the Travel article archive. In addition, "My Trips," allows users to conveniently bookmark, research and build a personalized itinerary while incorporating important planning information such as when to go, what to bring and things to do and a dynamic mapping function can identify key venues and generate directions. A full version of Travel online will be released in late March, which will include upgrades based on initial user feedback.

The Times weekly, enhanced print features will include a Las Vegas column offering the inside scoop on America's entertainment playground and the "Down and Dirty" column which reviews close-to-home campsites. Hotel reviews will open the door on some of the Southland's most talked-about lodgings and a column called "On the Spot" will offer advice on dealing with the dilemmas every traveler encounters.

"Our readers are hungry for ideas on destinations, both close to home and farther a field," said Catharine Hamm, Travel editor. "Whether it's an Italian idyll or a Mexican hideaway, the new Travel section will be there."

About the Los Angeles Times

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country, with a daily readership of nearly 2.2 million and about 3.3 million on Sunday. The Los Angeles Times and its media businesses and affiliates -- including latimes.com, TheEnvelope.com, Times Community Newspapers, Recycler Classifieds, Hoy, and California Community News -- are read by approximately 8.1 million or 62% of all adults in the Southern California marketplace every week.

The Los Angeles Times, has been covering Southern California for over 125 years and is part of Tribune Company (NYSE: TRB), one of the country's leading media companies with businesses in publishing, the Internet and broadcasting. Additional information about the Los Angeles Times is available at www.latimes.com/mediacenter.

SOURCE Los Angeles Times Media Group

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Peninsula Press Club: Study: Newsroom cuts reduce profitability

Peninsula Press Club: Study: Newsroom cuts reduce profitability

Is Las Vegas Safe for Average Guests?

Seems I had better start reading my hard copy of the Los Angeles Times a bit more often, and not give it away everyday. With so many blogs today, it is sometimes very hard to stay abreast of all the events occurring.

Tonight I traveled to Nevada to read the Moveable Buffet, by Richard Abowitz, this blog is all about Las Vegas and happens to be another Los Angeles Times Blog I enjoy.

The NBA held the All Star game in Las Vegas, and appears it was a very wild weekend with shootings, brawls, arrests, and mayhem, I don’t think they will be welcomed back again.

But don’t take my word for it, read the two posts by Richard, and the comments for what occurred from many of the casino employees.

The Importance of Laughter

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing." Such a simple, yet profound statement. When I read this on the bottom of a friend's e-mail message, it made me stop and consider what my outlook on life really is.

I, like so many others I know, consider myself to be young at heart. Recently, however, I realized that sometimes I take life a little too seriously. I'm a responsible adult, pay my bills on time, maintain my household and make sure my children are fed, loved and well-cared for. But, I also realized that there are times that I am too worried about life to just relax and have fun. Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. In fact, at one point in my life I faced a life-changing crisis and I vowed to myself to find something to laugh at every single day for the rest of my life. For many, many years I fulfilled that promise to myself every day. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that laughing every day is what carried me through some of the worst times in my life.

I am renewing my promise to myself tonight. I hope this will cause someone reading this to think about their own life and join me by having a good laugh every day.

Thought of the Day

What losers call adversity, winners call opportunity!

STAY POSITIVE, FOLKS!

My First Nutcase

Well, it had to happen.
In December, I wrote a short piece about The Emotional Legacy, the story of a guy who died after being hit in the head by a trailer hitch that came flying through his windshield.

Of all places to receive my first nutcase poster, but on this one! The guy's ex girlfriend sent not one, but two rambling venal posts about him! And believe me... they were long. They were also anonymous, but the fact that she identified herself as the "ex" pretty much exposes who she is. Anyway, she needs therapy, she needs God, she needs His love. But she doesn't need to hold all that bitterness anymore. It's sad. I read her posts and understood she was venting, but that she was a fairly damaged person.

777 Different Beers



Several Saturday's ago after meeting Will Campbell at Gladstones in Malibu, I drove down the coast to Naja's in Redondo Beach. The weather was very similar to today, overcast with a light mist of rain. As I walked to Naja's the aroma of onions filled the air and I had to capture this delightful sight on film.

Can you taste it yet?

Naja's offers 777 different tap beers, and a small menu of food, that really isn't too bad for an empty stomach. On Saturday's Urban Dread plays from 3:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. And the house band, Land Sharks, begins at 9:00 p.m. till closing. Very low key bar on the waterfront, with a friendly staff.

Naja's 154 International Boardwalk, Redondo Beach, California 90277

(310) 376-9951

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bar Lubitsch in the Times

Heidi Siegmund Cuda pens a nice article about Bar Lubitsch in the Thursday edition of the Times Calendar Weekend tabloid (page E-14). The story is titled "Like Eastern Bloc, but chic" and gives the reader a feel for the place. The bar opened only six weeks ago, but has a following, that leaves standing room only.

This story caught my attention, because I will be there on March 6th, for Media Bistro's Blogger Party.

Live Chat with Matt Welch Thursday at 2:00 p.m.

Matt Welch: the Opinion L.A. chat
The assistant editor of the editorial page will chat live online, this Thursday, 2 p.m.


Feel like arguing about John McCain? Worried about the illegal immigration...of gringos? Or simply interested in how the Opinion situation at Spring Street looks from inside the tent?

Then come on down for a live chat with Assistant Editorial Pages Editor Matt Welch, Thursday at 2 p.m. PDT. Topics can include, but are not limited to, whether our Long National Nightmare is still going strong, whether the local left is eyeing your home, or what further online tricks the editorial/op-ed factory has up its sleeves.

For free registration, click over to chat.latimes.com and go to "Opinion Chat."

Come early, hector often, and if you can't make it to the chat, email us your questions and we'll pass them along.

LA Cowboy: Downtown Growing Far Faster Than Anyone Expected! And Why This is Good News For Everyone In Los Angeles!

LA Cowboy: Downtown Growing Far Faster Than Anyone Expected! And Why This is Good News For Everyone In Los Angeles!

Media News

Fire the Wire -- And Hire Locally Editor & Publisher
My suggestion for publishers, editors and news managers dealing daily with the cost-cutting that plagues newsrooms around the country is to fire someone. I'm suggesting you sack your wire service. That's right -- fire your wire service. Eliminate wire copy from your paper.

Murder Ink On The Media
Los Angeles Times crime reporter Jill Leovy believes that no victim’s story should go untold. But news holes are shrinking, so Leovy has launched The Homicide Report online, where she’ll take note of every death in L.A. County.

Citrus Times will cease publication St Petersburg Times
The Citrus Times section that has been published since 1980 will cease to exist April 2, although the Times will continue to deliver a full metropolitan report in Citrus County.

N.Y. Times January Revenue Declines Yahoo Finance
Ad sales from continuing operations fell 2.1 percent to $182.6 million from $186.5 million in the prior-year period. Total revenue from continuing operations declined to $288 million from $289.1 million.

Wake Up Wendy Wednesday Fishbowl LA
"It's possible that there's already too much indifference over newspapers in this media-soaked age for anyone to care enough to use their lunchbreak to protest. Of course, those of us in the business hope that's not true, because we still believe that an active, responsible daily newspaper is a key to both a healthy democracy and an enjoyable life. Does the rest of Santa Barbara feel the same way? Wednesday will give some clues to that answer."

Peninsula Press Club: Roast of Jerry Roberts on March 13 in SF

Peninsula Press Club: Roast of Jerry Roberts on March 13 in SF

Editorial Department Downsizing at LAT

The next few weeks will be very tense for the editorial department at the Los Angeles Times, with possible cutbacks coming next month. According to The Wall Street Journal, I have been told this is only speculation on their part, the Tribune Company would sell off all of the television stations and payout a dividend to its shareholders.

But if this auction ends as many expect, Tribune will have to self-inflict the kinds of harsh changes that normally come from an outside buyer. That will mean even steeper cost cutting and asset sales.

Kevin Roderick at LAObserved ran a story about the possible changes coming to the Times.

Amid resurgent newsroom talk of personnel cuts by the end of the quarter — that's March 31 for you civilians — the Times this afternoon undermined staff morale a bit more. A note just went out from the editorial hiring and development team letting everybody know that the annual awards gathering — where the best reporting, editing, photography and design of the year are honored — has been postponed.

Tribune Employees across the country are waiting for the outcome of this situation closely.

Olympic Pressroom on Native Intelligence

Jacob Soboroff and his camera made a stop at our production facility last week, and has a nice five minute video of several of the departments producing the Los Angeles Times.

The Times has two production facilities. The Olympic plant in downtown L.A. opened in June 1990 and according to a plaque in the lobby its 500 employees -- with help from 6 Goss Colorliner presses and dozens of robots -- produce 676 million copies of the Times annually. When I showed up to the "Oly" plant for a tour the presses were just starting to roll. Take a look: Video

Maybe we can get Jacob together with the publisher of the Times, David Hiller, for a short interview one day.

.

Zuma Dogg on Eli Broad Special Treatment

I guess if you are a billionaire real estate developer, like Eli Broad, you not only get two minutes for public comment, but an extra two minutes, after that, and then, when the buzzer sounds -- you can keep talking without getting dragged away in handcuffs. Then ZD speaks on the problems with the sinking ship, known as LAX Living Wage Increase.

Blog Branches at LATimes.com

Yet another blog, or branch from a regular blog, has emerged called Opinion Daily, at the Los Angeles Times. How much further can the writers at the Times be spread, we will see.

Click on the title to jump over to the new blog.

Opinion Daily

Opinion Daily Comments

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Thought of the Day

Character is much easier kept than recovered.

STAY POSITIVE, FOLKS!

Nubia

Take Back the Times: Excuses Abound On Why Tribune Can't Sell LAT

Take Back the Times: Excuses Abound On Why Tribune Can't Sell LAT

Announcement from Dennis FitzSimons

Dear Fellow Employee,

  • At the Times, staff writer Kenneth R. Weiss and former staff member Usha Lee McFarling earned the Polk for environmental reporting. Their five-part series, “Altered Oceans,” investigated alarming problems caused by changes in water chemistry due to agricultural and industrial waste. The articles, along with video, are available at latimes.com/oceans <http://www.latimes.com/oceans>.

  • Sun national correspondent Robert Little won a Polk for medical reporting based on his articles about an experimental drug used on U.S. service members in Iraq. The three-day series, “Dangerous Remedy,” revealed that 1,000 soldiers have received the blood coagulant drug and detailed the cases of three wounded soldiers who were treated, two of whom died after suffering blood clots. The full series is posted at baltimoresun.com <http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nationworld/iraq/bal-te.polk20feb20,0,660250.story>.

  • The Hartford Courant’s Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman won a Polk in the military reporting category for their series on flaws in the treatment of soldiers with mental illnesses. “Mentally Unfit, Forced to Fight,” in four parts, investigated numerous non-combat deaths in Iraq that might have been prevented through better mental health screening by the U.S. military. Lisa and Matthew recently earned another national honor for this series, the Worth Bingham Prize for investigative journalism. To see the series and accompanying photo galleries, visit courant.com/unfit <http://www.courant.com/unfit>.

Please join me in congratulating our Polk Award winners. Their extraordinary efforts reinforce Tribune’s commitment to great journalism.

Sincerely,
Dennis

Olympic Mailroom on Frontline

Next Tuesday Frontline will air a special four part series on the future of news, with footage from the Los Angeles Times Mailroom.


The video can be watched from your computer by following this link.

Trickle Down Theory History at Tribune

Congratulations to the Tribune Company in rewarding stock to the executives at Tribune Tower for a job well done. For additional information click on each name, for all insider trading.

And they say pressmen are crybabies

R MALLORY - Shares 10,000
Controller & Vice President

LUIS E LEWIN - Shares 10,000
Senior Vice President

RUTHELLYN M MUSIL - Shares 14,000
Senior Vice President

TIMOTHY J LANDON - Shares 25,000
President

THOMAS D LEACH - Shares 30,000
Senior Vice President

CRANE H KENNEY - Shares 40,000
Secretary, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

JOHN E REARDON - Shares 40,000
President

SCOTT C SMITH - Shares 50,000
President

DONALD C GRENESKO -Shares 52,750
Senior Vice President

DENNIS J FITZSIMONS - Shares 135,000
Chairman & President

George Polk Award given to LA Times Writers

Los Angeles Times staff writer Kenneth R. Weiss and former staffer Usha Lee McFarling have won a George Polk Award for their series "Altered Oceans," it was announced today.

The five-part series, published July 30 through Aug. 3, chronicled symptoms of distress in the world's oceans, ranging from a virulent rash afflicting Australian fishermen to brainaltering poisons detected in California sea lions

Continue reading the Los Angeles Times article.

We Can Not Forget Birthdays




I would like to wish a happy birthday to my ex-wives today.


Happy Birthday Susan Padgett.

Happy Birthday Debi Padgett

Tuesday Morning Linkage

Tribune Board Rewards Top Execs For Performance Chicago Tribune
In the midst of a tumultuous search for ways to boost the company's stock price, Tribune Co.'s board this week gave top management a large incentive to stick around. At a regular board meeting Tuesday, directors awarded 10 top executives restricted stock worth $12.4 million, according to government filings.The biggest grant went to Chairman and Chief Executive Dennis FitzSimons, who received 135,000 restricted shares worth $4.1 million at Tuesday's close of $30.40 apiece.

Tribune Employees Brace for Deeper Cuts Wall Street Journal
Typically, if a company avoids a takeover, employees and management breathe a sigh of relief and go back to business as usual. But if this auction ends as many expect, Tribune will have to self-inflict the kinds of harsh changes that normally come from an outside buyer. That will mean even steeper cost cutting and asset sales.

A free crypt for the columnist from Cardinal Mahony? LA Times
Journalists are not allowed to accept gifts from the people they write about, but I'm thinking of making an exception in the case of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger M. Mahony.Mahony recently gave a tour of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to my editor and publisher. In the mausoleum under the altar, where crypts are available for purchase, the cardinal offered my bosses a deal. He said he'd provide a final resting place, free of charge, if they promised to put me in it.

FBLA 20 Questions: Joel Stein Fishbowl LA
Joel Stein kindly answered our 20 questions. If you think he's really funny, be prepared for a disappointment. Anyone can have an off day or two. We'd blame ourselves except everyone else we asked has been funny.

Peninsula Press Club: Chron adds ad to bottom of B Section

Peninsula Press Club: Chron adds ad to bottom of B Section

Monday, February 19, 2007

Update: New Search Engines To Benefit Pressmen


In order to raise money for the LA Times Pressmen, we have decided to join the stampede and follow the Zabasearch model.

The following searching engines are being designed. For $29.99 per search, we are offering these services:

MamaSearch.com- This search enables the user to find out things about themself or someone else that only their Mama would know. Such as: "You never cleaned your room when I asked." "X" often wore the same boxers three times in a row when he was 16." "Who WAS that tramp you brought to your Aunt Bess's wedding?" "That's not appropriate." and the ubiquitous "I told you/him/her/it so."

YoMamaSearch.com- This search engine enables the user to type in any conflict with someone and find the best matching "Yo Mama" insult intended to help you either end or accelerate the conflict you are having.
Problem: "I hate my boss!"
Search result: "Yo Mama is SOOOO fat, you had to work overtime to buy her a barcalounger the size of a double wide. And then, you had to pull permits."
The Pressmen are working overtime to come up with the world's #1 collection of Yo Mama putdowns. We suspect this site will be bigger than google.

Who's Your (sugar) Daddy? Search.com- This is search engine is for young women who want to date older, richer men.

Padgett Search.org Type in "Ed" and this search will find out within a reasonable probability, which bar, concert, party, or awards ceremoney Ed is at.

New Blog at the LA Times



The Los Angeles Times Blog Borderline, a blog on immigration issues, is now running from the link on this blog. Seems a portion of the address was omitted, but has since been corrected.

As I scanned the online edition again tonight I found yet another new blog called, The World is my Runway, which will be added to my list of Los Angeles Times Blogs.

RFID Passport Shield Failure Demo

The FLX video security brief demonstrates a real world vulnerability associated with the failure of the shielding component in the current proposed electronic passport design. When partially open, as could be the case when in a pocket, purse, or briefcase, the currently proposed passport can be detected by a nearby inquiring RFID reader. The security brief also demonstrates an improved shield design that requires a passport to be significantly open before reading is possible.


President's Day at the Newspaper

My children had no school last Monday in celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday, and today in honor of Presidents Day, or Washington’s Birthday.

At the Los Angeles Times, we create a newspaper everyday, rain or shine, holiday or no holiday. For us workers that work on a holiday, we are compensated with a day and a half of additional pay, besides our regular pay.

The newspaper urges non-essential employees to take the day off, so our facility was only manned with essential employees like myself today. And I’m very pleased to say, we had our best day of production in over two weeks.

ZABA SEARCH: Everything AND Your Kitchen Sink


I was watching that old movie, Jeremiah Johnson, the story about the mountain man who disappears into the Utah wilderness in the 1800's to get away from civilization. He just dropped out. The only ones he communed with were others like him, a few native Americans, the flora and the fauna.

Boy, would this guy have hated Zabasearch.com.He'd of taken his hatchet and gun and raked the servers, but only after he did the same to the internet entrepreneurs who own what they bill as the #1 people search engine in the world.

Put in your own name and you will find every place you've ever lived, including phone numbers. Enter your name in all various forms: first, last; first middle initial last; middle name, last. You can search by Social Security number, a phone number. You'll find it all pulled up from public records.

When Zaba search first started, they had an 'opt out' clause where people could write in and they'd take you off. But now this is on their privacy statement: "At this time, Zaba, Inc. does not offer any means of opting out one's records from the service." I guess they couldn't pay enough people in India to input the data that would take off the flood of people who'd request their names be taken out.

Anita Ramasastry, an associate professor of law at the University of Washington School of Law, writes that search engines like this are legal "because, according to the site, its data come from publicly available government records and commercial sources."

Ever wonder why you've got so many people offering to sell you cheap furnaces, second-rate mortgages, homes you don't want? Or how about those phone calls asking you to buy stuff? Yup, they get data from services such as Zabasearch. So what's one supposed to do? What if you're a celebrity? Do you simply list your business address on everything? Is this what we, the average Jane and Joe, must do as well?

It seems like there isn't any hope for those of us who'd like to think that somewhere out there that some part of our privacy can be preserved as Jeremiah Johnson's. Indeed, from his perspective, the whole world has already hurtled like this:

Jeremiah Johnson: Where you headed?
Del Gue: Same place you are, Jeremiah: hell, in the end.

Election Hearing Update 02.17.07

A hearing on the Company’s Objections to the Election was commenced on Thursday and concluded on Friday. The matter now rests with the Hearing Officer who stated that a decision can be expected in approximately 30 days. She can either rule in favor of the Company and recommend a new election or she can recommend that the Union be certified. Whichever party loses can appeal the result to Washington, which will delay final resolution of this matter.

The matter is before the Hearing Officer because a number of employees came forward to testify about things they believe interfered with a clean and fair election. We know this was not easy and we appreciate their courage and forthright testimony. A number of employees also testified on behalf of the Union, as is their legally protected right, a right the Company respects.

As everyone awaits the Hearing Officer’s report, it is extremely important that the right to a harassment free workplace for all employees is recognized and respected by everyone on both sides of the election. Witnesses for both parties are entitled to their views and actions and must not be offended, harassed or discriminated against in any manner. It is a good time to be reacquainted with the company’s policy on workplace harassment in the Employee Handbook. Any charges of misconduct will be investigated quickly and thoroughly based on the Company’s policy. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.

Mark

Mummified man found in front of TV, still on

As I read the Los Angeles Times online edition this morning, I could not resist sharing this strange article with you.

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. — Southampton police responding to burst water pipes in a Hampton Bays home found the mummified body of the owner — dead for more than a year — sitting in a chair in front of a television.
The television was still on.
Full story can be read here.

Tina Kim to Appear at Our Dinner

Many club members have requested I hire Tina Kim for our next dinner, and after contacting Ms. Kim, she has agreed to entertain our group on March 27th.




Tina Kim web page

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Take Back the Times: Dean Baquet Keeps Firing At Tribune Co.

Take Back the Times: Dean Baquet Keeps Firing At Tribune Co.

Free One Night Only Comedy Event

TUESDAY FEBRUARY 20TH

THE COMEDY UNION PRESENTS
A FREE BLACK HISTORY MONTH EVENT

THE LEGENDS OF BLACK COMEDY

FEATURING

REYNALDO REY
MICHAEL COLYAR
THEA VIDALE
THE MOONEY TWINS
&
JOE TORRY

HOST - DARRYL “D’MILITANT” LITTLETON
AUTHOR OF
“BLACK COMEDIANS ON BLACK COMEDY”

BOOK SIGNING AT 8:30PM COMEDY SHOW - 9:00PM

THE COMEDY UNION IS LOCATED AT 5040 W. PICO BLVD
FOR RESERVATIONS CALL 323-934-9300
FREE ADMISSION 2 DRINK MINIMUM

Blogger Party

mediabistro.com presents the Blogger Party in L.A.
The Blogger Party
March 6
7:00 - 9:00
Bar Lubitsch
7702 Santa Monica Blvd.
West Hollywood CA 90046
You must RSVP

Google Your Name



One of my co-workers ran a Google search, using my name, and discovered some rather unflattering information on a site called Woman Savers about me, the information has since been removed.

I thought it was time to run a search of my name myself, and found some rather informative information, like the article on Fishbowl regarding my blog, and a certain story I wrote about the lack of information the pressroom employees have.

Run a Google search for your name and you may be shocked at what you find.

Honesty is Alive and Well at Olympic

Here at the Los Angeles Times production facility, called Olympic after Olympic Blvd, thefts are increasing at an alarming rate. Damage to company, as well as personal, property has shown a steady upswing. As management points the blame on pressroom employees, the full time workers for the newspaper look at all the outsiders working for other companies as the culprits.



On Super Bowl Sunday I worked overtime for a friend that wanted to view the game, as I rushed to the cafeteria to grab a cup of coffee, I pulled out my small wad of money and placed it on the counter. Then preceded to pull out my change from my pocket, the only worker on duty in the cafeteria was in the back washing dishes, to leave my eighty-one cents on the counter. In my haste, I left my money on the counter.

When I discovered my mistake, I thought I would never see my money again, as anything not bolted down seems to walk away. I thought I would call the cafeteria anyway, just incase Juanita had found my money. I was floored when she told me security had recovered my wad of money, and the security guard even delivered the money to my printing press.

Sergeant Syed Akbar is a very honest man, and it certainly is a comfort knowing we have some of the best security around the Times watching over the building and employees.


Thank you Sergeant Akbar.

Check This Out!

http://tropicalglen.com

Just pick your year and IT'S ON!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Lovely Day in February

It's an absolutely LOVELY day in the neighborhood and I've made lots of progress on the schoolwork. With that done, I'll be taking a drive to the beach today for a spell. I've forced myself many times to stay in and try to focus on schoolwork (on the weekend)and ended up NOT making the progress I had planned. So, spending a few hours relaxing will be justified. Then, perhaps, I'll be able to concentrate even more.

Enjoy this beautiful day and STAY POSITIVE, FOLKS!

Nubia

The Blog is Bogged Down

My web hosting service, Earthlink, is experiencing problems with their servers this morning. My Blogger files are stored on the Earthlink servers, so the blog and web page are running like molasses, if you’re able to make the connection at all.

Tribune Linkage

Tribune Co. reiterates decision due by end of March Chicago Business

Nobody Wants to Offend the Tribune Boss LA Weekly

Sun-Times charged Tribune Co. with "gross negligence" Chicago Tribune

Tribune sues Fox News over use of RedEye name Chicago Business

Investor Peltz kept 1.2% stake in Tribune in '06 Chicago Business

Dips in Trib ad sales add to headaches Chicago Business

Tribune Co. CEO received 135,000 restricted stock units LA Biz Observed

Tribune's WGN, other TV biz will be key to any deal Chicago Business

Bears fans get Newspaper Circulation going Chicago Business

Friday, February 16, 2007

Los Angeles Times Homicide Blog

Jill Leovy writes a blog for the Times with all the murders in Los Angeles County since the first of the year, and just added Orange County, the death count is now at 107, and growing. The majority of the killings never make main stream media, but this blog has them all, and I've heard City Officials are not too pleased with her new blog.

Sometimes the truth hurts.

Long Weekend

Today is Friday, February 16 and the weather in California is spectacular! To make it even better, today is my regular day off so I'll get to enjoy the entire day. I've really looked forward to this weekend, first because it's my wedding anniversary on Monday, and second because it'll be a 4-day weekend for me. My husband and I have planned a trip to Palm Springs this weekend and I can't wait to leave.

I hope everyone gets a chance to go outside today to enjoy the beauty that is Southern California. I'm off to pack for Palm Springs, which I'm sure will be equally fantastic. Have a great day, God bless everyone and be safe.

Video Blogger in the House



We had a special guest at Olympic yesterday, Jacob Soboroff from LAObserved, making a short video of how the newspaper is produced.
Vice-president of production, Russ Newton, is answering a few questions before the massive printing presses start rolling off today's papers.








Somehow I find a way to get in the pictures, Jacob at the left, myself, and Thomas Macker the cameraman.
The video will be up on Native Intelligence sometime next week.
Photo by Russ Newton

Pressmen's Dinner Date and Location

Our next dinner for the Pressmen’s Twenty Year Club has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 at Luminarias Restaurant. This is a change from our usual restaurant, Taix, but I’m certain everyone will have a great time.

Eamonn Dignam will be contacted for his golf tournament, which coincides with our dinners twice per year.

Invitations and maps will be in the mail next week, if you’re not on the mailing list drop a message to me, and you will be added.

Luminaries Restaurant
3500 Ramona Blvd.
Monterey Park, CA. 91754
323.268.4363

Back to the Ice House Tonight

My plan was to head straight home after work tonight, but my buddy Larry Washington had to ask me to attend "That Thursday Thang" at the Pasadena Ice House. And if you know me, I could not resist, and agreed to meet him there.

As I entered the Annex I recognized one of the comic's from the Comedy Union, and mistook her for another comic. Ms. Ajai Sanders was very kind, after I made the mistake of asking her if she was someone else.

Some of you may know Ms. Sanders from her acting career, she is a very funny comedienne, with her clean , yet diverse sense of humor.



D'Militant was better than usual tonight, not sure if my moods make a difference or not, but he had me laughing with his new material.





Co-host D' Sean had the crowd laughing as well.
Here's Larry and I enjoying the show, if I'm not taking your picture, I'm in the picture.