Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday Afternoon in the Blogosphere

The Employees working in Operations at the newspaper are holding their breath that the grim reaper does not pay us a visit in the latest round of layoffs. Pressman Robert Kitchens checking the Wall Street Journal for correct page count.

Layoffs at the Los Angeles Times

From: Dunn, Ashley
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 2:52 PM
To: yyMetro
Subject: Layoffs


As most of you have heard, there were layoffs today. We’ve all been through this before, but it doesn’t make it any easier. We’ll all miss the fine people who are leaving.

For those of us still here, the hard task ahead is getting back to the business of reporting the news. It feels like rushing back into battle after a hellacious ass whipping. To those who are understandably feeling a bit down, I say: We don’t get our asses whipped, we whip asses. We don’t get ulcers, we give ulcers.

Take a look at the Metro’s budget today. Nita is writing about Post Office closures and how people in towns and neighborhoods are taking it. Marosi is shining a bright light on the shitheads in the Sinaloa Cartel, and Ari is back with City Council as it wrestles with those damn red-light cameras. Don’t forget the fighting nudists of San Diego.

These are the great stories we do every day about our beloved city and state. We are kicking ass in our own modest way. Life is calling out for us to write, witness and be moved.

Deadline is coming. Swig that Mountain Dew, suck deeply on that Marlboro Ultralight, tell your editor to move that fucking story.

This paper waits for no one. Let’s get to it.

If you want to vent about the layoffs, plot strategy for the future or just shoot the shit about the old days, come on in.


Ashley Dunn is the California editor at the Los Angeles Times.

Tony Pierce Leaving the Los Angeles Times

I was saddened to hear the blood letting has reared its ugly head at the Los Angeles Times early this morning on LAObserved, and especially the departure of Tony Pierce. Tony is an energetic person that always makes others feel at ease with his big smile and charisma, and he’ll be missed at the newspaper. This latest round of downsizing has a very negative affect on the moral of all remaining employees in every department as the employees wonder if their pink slip will arrive soon?

From: Pierce, Tony
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:38 PM
To: yyeditall; yylatbloggers
Subject: Dear LA Times, you rock

Dear Los Angeles Times,

I don’t think you realize, but years ago, I used to have a pretty successful personal blog.

And on that blog, every now and then, I’d write a post that would start

“Dear L.A. Times, you suck...”

And I would go off on how I would change things if only the Times would hire me to blog.

True story.

The readers loved it because who doesn’t love a profanity laden rant by a nobody as he shakes his fist at The Man?

One day I got the nerve to actually write the LA Times. The unlikely victim was Meredith Artley who was running the web site at the time.

I was running an upstart local blog, LAist, who just had a month so big that it had quadrupled the Times’ most popular blog.

I wrote in part, “I don’t know what the word is after quadruple, but if you don’t hire me I’m gonna have to learn it.”

Because life is fascinating, I was hired not to write on one blog but to run all the blogs at the LA Times.

As the kids say: omgwtf. As my mother says, “be careful what you wish for.”

Those days all of the blogs at the Times added up to 3 million pageviews a month. In March, as you know, blogs accounted for about 72 million pageviews that month.

When I was invited to go into an office today, I was told that the LA Times no longer needs a Blog Editor.

One might think, how can the one part of the Times that has consistently shown record-breaking growth month after month, and year after year, not need someone whose sole agenda is looking out for the best interest of those blogs?

Especially if that part is the part that everyone agrees is the future of the company, if not the heart of its present?

Here’s what I think. I think someone finally paid attention to the main idea at the center of all of my others: the solution for the Times is already at the Times.

When I first got here way back in Dec of ‘07 I said stop hiring freelancers to write your blogposts, the superstars who the people want to read are the LAT staffers who we read in the paper. Those are the ones with the contacts, the experience, and the advantages that every other blogger wishes they had.

And sure enough, when blogs like LA Now and Fab Forum turned into firehoses of news, people flocked.

That was one part. The part everyone talks about, the numbers. The other part that’s harder to express is the quality of writing and reporting. May I say that the best part of the success, for me, of the blogs at the Times is that it happened mostly on hard news blogs where the writing was at the highest standard, ready for newsprint.

People like Geoff Boucher, Borzou Daragahi, Tom Petruno and Todd Martens are people I’d read on a moving truck if I had to. How nice they have blogs to make things easier.

Meanwhile, what a blessing to sit next to the AM Copy Desk. Bloggers outside the building have no idea how important and valuable the Copy desk is. I will miss them a lot. (How much more concise would this email have been with their help.)

This was a dream job for me. And we did it despite the economy, despite the bankruptcy, and despite our friends in my hometown of Chicago.

I love you Los Angeles Times. You’ve all taught me so much. It was a true honor to work alongside you all.

Before I click send I’d like to acknowledge two people still at the Times who are close to my heart.

The Blog Dept only consisted technically of two people, me and Lindsay Barnett. An angel if ever there was one. I’ve never worked so closely with any one person for so long and so successfully, and we couldn’t have been more different. She’s a devout vegan, and I can tell you where any McDonalds is in any part of Southern California.

I knew my days were numbered when she was moved out of our dept this spring and I was assigned to blog solely at Top of the Ticket.

Which brings us to Andrew Malcolm, my blogging partner for the last couple months. Together we moved the needle from 500k to 1 million in one month. The next month we did 2 million. Last month we did 3, and this month we were on pace for another 3 million. Not bad for two guys who were rarely on the homepage competing for the same stories as our excellent pals on Politics Now, and the rest of the political blogosphere.

Andy’s enthusiasm and dedication on a blog that requires multiple posts every day helped legitimize blogging to some small corners of the newsroom who still didn’t immediately see its importance back in 07-08. And for that I can easily say that blogs would not have taken off as quickly as they did at the Times if it hadn’t been for Andy Malcolm and Top of the Ticket.

Which is why it was so weird/cool/beautiful to be able to write with Andy to great success these last few months.

Yes there was a lot more I wanted to do as Blog Editor, just like there’s more I want to say now. But one thing I’ve noticed with all these farewell letters, the veterans keep it short, and the relative newbies like me ramble on.

I have always been fond of LAT tradition.

So by all means, keep rocking,


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Union Dues at the Los Angeles Times

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As you may have been aware, the company had agreed to extend our contract through the end of June. Our International Representative, Mike Huggins was contacted approximately a week ago by Tribune Attorney, Amy Foran, in a message, Amy informed Mike that due to our numerous grievances, and the nature of the grievances, the company would not be extending our contract again.

In short, we are currently operating without a contract; and we are still negotiating a new one. As a result of the contract expiration, the company informed the union that it would no longer honor the dues check off language and would not deduct and forward members dues to the Local.

The Local sought to establish a debit system with our bank Wells Fargo, to allow members to have their dues automatically deducted from their checking or saving account. Wells Fargo informed Secretary Treasurer Williams that they are unable to establish a debit account for us at this time so members will need to mail their monthly dues into the Local to insure that they remain in good standing and the Local can continue to serve the members.

Local 140-N asks that you please send your check or money order on or before the second pay period of each month, and no later that the 28th of each month (including July). Please remit $60.00 if a full member5, and $48.04 if currently a beck objector payable to:

GCC/IBT Local 140-N

25852 McBean Parkway, Unit 312

Valencia, CA. 91355

Thank you Brothers and Sisters for understanding, we are working on getting the improvements sought by the members in our next contract and need your complete support and cooperation during the negotiations.

Fraternally and In Solidarity,

Ronnie Pineda,


GCC/IBT Local 140-N

Friday, July 22, 2011

Castra Praetoria: Dakota Meyer USMC

Castra Praetoria: Dakota Meyer USMC:

"On a day when everything went to hell many men were weighed and measured; when it mattered Dakota Meyer was not found wanting."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Video Congress Does NOT Want You To See!

Amid new talk of layoffs, blogs are hot at the Times - LA Observed

A sudden flurry of high-level meetings and grim faces this week at the Los Angeles Times has people in the newsroom on edge again. There's been a long quiet period since the last big staff cuts, but the bankruptcy proceedings are moving toward an end, Tribune reorganized this week to treat the Times separately from the chain's other papers, and if a highly speculative Wall Street Journal story is to be believed, the Times is on the market. Any of that could trigger new budget cutbacks — many staffers have assumed they're coming, it was just a matter of when — and so could plain old bad financial news. Stay tuned.

Amid new talk of layoffs, blogs are hot at the Times - LA Observed

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bay Citizen says it’s the first start-up news website to unionize

A Guild release says two votes out of the 14 cast are being challenged. "The remaining ballot count resulted in a 7-5 win to form the union," it adds. "The two challenged votes have not been opened, however the Guild is certain that whether these two voters are included in the unit or not, the concluding tally will remain in favor of forming a unit. The Guild is asking the NLRB to count all votes cast."

Bay Citizen says it’s the first start-up news website to unionize

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday Night in the Blogosphere

Former Los Angeles Times paper handler Chris Berru

Job Cuts Coming To Tribune Company

CHICAGO (CBS) — Job cuts are coming to the Tribune Company as a result of a major reorganization.

As WBBM Newsradio 780′s David Roe reports, the change involves giving Chicago Tribune publisher Tony Hunter oversight of all company papers nationwide, except the Los Angeles Times. Hunter will oversee the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, The Sun of Baltimore, The Hartford Courant, The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., and the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

Click on link below for full story

Job Cuts Coming To Tribune Company

Friday, July 15, 2011

Los Angeles Times Party Tomorrow

Edward and Dana

Dana Barcelona-Bonner has created the second Los Angeles Times get together tomorrow in Monrovia. Everyone had a great time at last years party and I'm certain tomorrow's event will be just as much fun.

Saturday, July 16th, 5:30-7:30 $20.00 per head includes 2 Glasses House Wine and Appetizers; Scampi Alla Diavola; Pasta e Fagioli Alla Napoletana; Caprese

Bella Sera Trattoria, 422 S. Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia CA 91016
Phone: (626) 359-1399

Photos from last years event can be viewed here.