Wednesday, October 25, 2006

News from San Diego, about one of the SBNP's old publishers...

And potential execs who want to buy that paper, just like SoCal types want the LAT.

Rather than think of the paper as a dying dinosaur, think of it as something coveted?

That's right, we said COVETED!

Retro has it...covered.

Matt Welch and Opinion L.A. (click me & go)

Tons of comments pro and con on the big redesign here, plus...more!

Retro is fresh, and so appeals to the twentysomething set who haven't seen it yet in newsprint. That's why it's a good move, although purists in the comments area here think it's too tabloid.

Our only quibble was yesterday's very thin Helvetica below the fold on the Shards of Agony piece. Too light! Almost lost it...

There is a fine line between the splashy moderne look of many fonts inc. and different fonts that mesh well. The helvetica was great on Sunday's A1 for the skyboxes, in color.

And now to read my paper, the Los Angeles Times!

(after some Boston Globe up)

SB Daily Sound's charming new MASTHEAD! click me and go...

Craig Smith tipped us and we just had to see. What a cutie-pie of a 1930's masthead it is, too. Parfait! Craig has links to a recent piece on them by the SF Chronicle too.

Read that here:
Click and go...

and follow his quest to find the perfect Irish Coffee in town...

Betcha the fab barteneder at Alcazar (down the street from The Daily Sound) knows how to conjure one...if it's anything like those Mojitos she does...look out!

Congrats Daily Sound -- looks fab!

Meanwhile you can check out what people are saying about the Los Angeles Times' new look over at Matt Welch's place, next up.

Monday, October 23, 2006

LAT goes retro, but of course...!

Well done, we say, on those cap heds. So very, very, turn o' the century. And even the rules are in color now.

The half rules are a bit odd, though? for the subheds and bylines. Sunday looked a lot better, (thank heavens) than we thought it was going to. All that color bounced the eye in fab ways. But, that ad on the front of Calendar? Bad move. There are other ways to get close to Hollywood like you did inside.

And, the masthead seemed larger, even.

Monday's editorial page was interesting. Of course, some people may need to understand what editorial pages are for. Like say, the fool editor up here.

You are so fab LAT.

Come north.


All you have to do is take a look at the dwindling page count and advertising, and it could be yours, this whole territory. Yours!

That new house ad looks much better in the colored version too.

Suggest a possible color hed at bottom of monday's A-1? Or another bolded sans serif hed to be even more daring.

You rule!

Sunday was a coup. The boxes didn't detract.

Center the half rules? that new folio on the front is great too.

So, our weekly weighed in at 238 pages...Not too shabby, no. Very fab for them at The Independent.

Fab job, LAT.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

VOTE YES ON 87! for clean energy...

Monday, October 16, 2006

FAB news! LA Times ad overheard on KTYD, for WEST mag...

And a fab WEST mag it was. Now bring back the OUTDOORS sec! It was huge up here. The Star is so glad to see the Times coming to our market. It's HUGE up here for you in terms of readership and boom demographics, and given the piece in WEST you can see that North County is stretching up Paso Robles way as well.

We need a newspaper up here, instead of the pithy, useless unethical rag we have.

KTYD is the place for your spots, LAT.

By now, most all have heard of the lawsuit filed against the SBNP by former employees regarding their working conditions. How disgusting in this day and age to think one can run a paper like some kind of Dark Age citadel.

One might ask of Mr. Alcorn after reading his editorial "Why would god do something like that?" -- Why would you, as CFO, do something like that to your employees? Or perhaps one might ask the same of Ms. Apodaca. If they have violated the law with their practices, we trust Mr. Anticouni to sort it all out in the courts.

Basically, in Santa Barbara -- we need you LA Times, because you are a newspaper, and not a standing joke.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Robert Smaus...(our fav! for years) the LAT

This man has probably done more for SoCal gardening than anyone. Plus his books are fab. We bought them when the LA Times published them, and treasure them still.

Now, last Thursday he had a piece in about fall bulbs. Nice section by the way...overall. Perhaps you might want to consider expanding the Food and Home Secs and pumping up the goodwill/Human Interest?

We love the Times when it runs that stuff. Important! It balances the pain and bleakness?

But you NEED great writers like Mr. Smaus to do it.

He was your best?

Go back in the biz of selling related books? It was an inspired idea!

Maybe Russ Parsons?

We'd buy it.

The NP published "Headlines" once. You could do it too, for LAT?

We love you, Los Angeles Times. And we are holding our breath up here, for all of you.

Lastly, Chicagoist weighs in on LA Times here:

Mighty sad times overall, for newspapers. But, it doesn't have to be. If the balance tips too far in one direction, the pendulumn swings back.

Contra Costa Times on MediaNews trial here:

This has to do with papers in the Bay Area, but relates to us too.

Santa Barbara could use an FCC hearing too. Huh?

click title or cut and paste this link:

File under Media Ownership...from

Don't miss this one if you are interested in Media monopolies and the FCC.


(or try red title and click it!)

Catch the Toronto Star here:

L.A. Times' defining moment

Oct. 10, 2006. 07:35 AM


click title or link:

Don't miss what London is saying...

LA story of greed and sackings

Peter Preston
Sunday October 8, 2006
The Observer

old fashioned link:,,1890012,00.html

USC Annenberg -- Online Journalism here:

Don't miss this read...

Put up or shut up: Newspapers aren't the only forum for great journalism

Commentary: Some critics want to buy the Los Angeles Times from Tribune to protect the quality of local journalism. But there's another way to do that.

By Robert Niles
Posted: 2006-10-09

(Click the red title and go)

All quiet on the Western front lines, sort of...

Hey! we got a mention by the fab roving journo Matt Welch, thankee, Matt and hope you do weigh in soon with a big fat piece on all sorts of things about the situation up here, down there and overall.

Read Craig Smith today, and see how to lose your last shred of dignity in Santa Barbara, blondly.

Read me & weep

Oh, brother.

Next up, USC weighs in on newspapers of the future... (Thanks to Kevin Roderick's LAObserved this morning for tipping us off) He's already got this going on, by the way, fabulously, over at LAOBserved. Don't miss it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Let's face facts about the Newspaper Industry...

Anyone who has worked in the industry over the last 20 years or so knows what happened during the late 80's as we had everyone scrambling to deal with all the new technology on the market, what systems to choose, which presses to buy, etc.

It was expensive.

Now that cost is coming due.

But don't make the mistake of thinking you can keep on cutting the human element out, because for one thing content will suffer and then you will lose your reputation and brand.

Instead, capitalize on the fact you are a newspaper. And get back into the biz of being a newspaper. The Los Angeles Times does this very well already. Increasing the writing/graphic content is only going to make things better and bigger aka circulation. The web is an adjunct for the 20-something set. First you have to teach them how to read, though, and you will do this by hooking them electronically with all the splashy, graphic stuff they are used to.

Staff morale at papers has been in the dumps since the 80's. It's a fear factor kind of thing where too many managers have spoiled the broth, and too many incompetent HR directors didn't give a flying f*ck. It used to be so all about team building didn't it? All those meetings, except, usually the managers were less smart than the workers themselves, and teams weren't ever actually built, were they? Remember those stupid posters that were all about striving for excellence that had dolphins and skiers standing in as corporate...right. You know what I'm talking about, and if you don't, they can be found here, courtesy of

(read motivational posters)

Salaries got very inflated for middle managers who were always talking poormouth about why nobody beneath them deserved a raise. Then you had the horror stories about goings on elsewhere as the media conglomerates were buying up newspaper chains by the score. And fear, absolutely. And then layoffs which were done in a terribly cruel fashion and only made the industry sadder, not prouder.

This has ruled the whole newspaper industry for the last 20 years.

And now, the bill has come due. So this is what the publishers like Mr. David Hiller are facing. The corporate parent wants to know where the money is. Well? Why did you listen to all the BS from the suits who wanted to look good and made you spend so many bazillions on all their tech-y stuff in the first place? The programs were dumb, huh? I won't name names but it rhymes with Bad Seed, or Sage Seed, which it wasn't.

Don't make the publishers hang for the fiscal mistakes, just make them understand by listening to and working with the staff.

It's time to repair the damage done to employee MORALE, newspaper by newspaper.

Your staff is the GOLDMINE.

As far as we are concerned The Los Angeles Times is the best o' the West along with San Fran.

Don't blow it out here. And, under Mr. Jeff Johnson we LOVED what the paper has done. You appeal to the sophisticated demographic here in Santa Barbara.

The Times should bring him back as an advisor. If he'd consider it, at this point. '

You really don't want a Santa Barbara-style fiasco on the venerable LAT's hands.

Doc Searls has a piece up here from Linux Journal

He has fab ideas regarding a concept he has called "River of News" for coverage of disasters, and makes strong points about the recent lack of any significant local coverage of The Day Fire.

Read an excerpt here, and click red title above for the whole piece...

Let's do for news what we did for software

There have always been problems with distributing urgent public safety information. These problems show up, over and over, with every hurricane, tornado, flood and wildfire. At this moment in history, problems fall in three areas of responsibility (and, for that matter, responsiveness):

  1. The old official channels (radio, TV, newspapers) are scaling back on live news coverage (or on news coverage, period)
  2. The new official channels (web sites and services, "reverse 911") are still, as we've been saying since 1995, "under construction".
  3. The new unofficial channels (cell phones, blogs, RSS feeds, phone trees) are still no substitute for the Real Thing, whatever it will become.

Lately I've been thinking about some simple hacks we can do in #3 that will give some needed assistance to #s 1 and 2 as well.

What got me thinking was the Day Fire, which lasted almost a month. What began as a trash fire ended as the 5th largest wildfire in California history. By the time it was contained early this week, the Day Fire covered 162,702 acres , or about 250 square miles — a total that exceeds the dimensions of Chicago. In the middle of its last week, the Day Fire was fought by nearly five thousand people, armed with 226 engines, 45 'dozers, 41 water tenders, 28 helicopters, 9 helitankers and more than 10 air tankers. Its cost so far have exceeded $70 million. As of yesterday (October 6), 831 personnel remain assigned to the fire. (Although it's contained, the fire is not yet out.)

Yet news coverage of the Day Fire was notably minimal — even as rivers of dark smoke flowed over the heads of millions, and ash fell like snow. Why?

Ken Reich's take, from "Take Back the Times" here...

Here is Mr. Reich's bio...

Ken Reich worked for the L.A. Times for 39 years, retiring in June, 2004. Before The Times, he worked for Life magazine, United Press International and the Riverside Press-Enterprise. He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1960 and received an M.A. in political science from UC Berkeley in 1962. While at The Times, Ken covered the Presidential campaigns of Eugene McCarthy, George Wallace, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, was the paper's Southern correspondent in 1970-72, served briefly as Op-Ed Page Editor, was the lead writer on the preparations for the 1984 Olympics, covered insurance and the law, for three years wrote a Consumer Column, and covered earthquakes and volcanoes off and on for 25 years.

His blog will be keeping a close watch on events to the south, we imagine. He represents the esteemed generation of journalists like Mr. Vanocur and Mr. Cannon who were so very present during all the rallys for the Santa Barbara News-Press journalists of late.

To read more about Mr. Cannon and Mr. Vanocur there is an interview here, from Pacific Coast Business Times HERE

Or here is the link:

Two L.A. journalists take on "PublisherSwap" at LAT

First Nikki Finke from "Deadline" -- she's pulls no punches and is like a female version of the Independent's Nick Welsh.HERE

We loved this, but she has a VERY impressive list of credentials too...

"Dow Jones' MarketWatch headlined a recent profile on her, "In-your-face Finke keeps Hollywood honest: Nobody writes tougher stuff than this LA Weekly scribe." The article said "Finke is a rarity at a time when many entertainment writers are either too awed, ill-informed or lazy to do serious reporting on Tinseltown. In fact, no writer relishes taking the rich and famous down a peg as much as this LA Weekly print columnist/Web journalist."

Click the red title above and go over to an interesting read about our new LAT publisher to the south...this news ought to raise and eyebrow or two up here in Santa Barbara.

Next up, Ken Reich, an LAT retiree, equally impressive bio -- for his take on Mr. Hiller out of Chicago.

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Los Angeles Times loses a BRAVE HEART in Jeff Johnson

All over the web last night was the news. Mr. Jeff Johnson, the publisher of The Los Angeles Times was OUSTED for saying he couldn't make any more staff cuts in the newsroom.

Up here in Santa Barbara, this matters.

We don't have to know Mr. Baquet, or Mr. Johnson personally to understand the dark days ahead for The Los Angeles Times, because it all happened here when the New York Times jettisoned the Santa Barbara News-Press back in 2000.

It wasn't the first sale the paper had been through, but it was the sale that killed the soul of our newspaper here in Santa Barbara.

You can almost hear the hushed whispers of the newsroom now, down in Los Angeles. You get it tangibly through the web. It's in the rage over at LA Weekly's Nikki Finke's column, just as it has been up here in our Nick Welsh.

One look at the fat-cheeked lawyer out of Chicago in today's paper and you know what he's been sent West to do. Rape the place. Just like what happened here in Santa Barbara.

Oh, the big guns would like to keep it all hush-hush. God forbid if the true stories came out. A lawyer's reputation in our tidy community might be at stake too, wouldn't it?

But we're a small town here, so it's different. It's oh so visible when almost an entire newsroom staff walks. Today we got a glimpse of the figures from The Los Angeles Times. It's on page A-20, six columns over, graf number one.

"The Times' workforce has dropped from 5,300 to about 2,800 since Tribune's takeover in 2000 -- with the editorial operation suffering only a fraction of the cuts that hit other divisions."

And that's when you love the Los Angeles Times. Because they are going to tell the public the truth about what is going on. This quality alone makes them venerable.

You can feel what's happening like a buzz saw slicing right into a tree. Little groups of people who have been working in fear since 2000 are assembling over coffee or organic tea laced with pomegranite essence. The silence is so thick you could slice it. Chicago's already pulled off the first round, so they've gotten used to it. Never knowing when the axe is going to fall. If you imagine this hasn't created a dog-eat-dog atmosphere for the entire staff, you are very wrong.

And all of it, all the pain is suffered just to make more and more profit out of Wall Street.

Do you care are about the lives you are about to ruin, Mr. Hiller? Do you Chicago Tribune? Did you, New York Times?

It's high time the truth about what is really going on in the industry comes out.

And it's high time the American people stood up to protect the press in our country, from politicians on down to the last migrant worker in a strawberry field.

What has happened in and to the industry is unethical and wrong.

Remember this, Mr. Hiller, on your second day in Los Angeles.

Whatever comes next for Mr. Johnson, we give him a standing ovation from Santa Barbara. He has the rare quality of being an ethical man.

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