Tuesday, February 2, 2010

because print journalism isn't dying fast enough

Just when you thought the LA Times didn't have another foot to shoot itself in, it miraculously finds one.

I was working at home this morning when I hear a bellow from the living room: "The @#$% LA Times has found another way to shrink the comics!" (You gotta understand, the comics page is the first thing either one of us reads, and it's probably the only reason we still get the paper.) Sure enough, there's a giant banner ad in the middle of the funnies.

You know, I'm happy (okay, well, grudgingly willing) to be part of the hospice staff for the slow demise of the LA Times, but as you'll see in the picture, this wasn't even a paid ad. What the motherfucking hell is up with that?!? Go ahead and destroy my reading experience in the name of increased ad revenues, but shrinking the funnies for sheer (and pointless) self-promotion is just a thumb in the eye.

Dear LA Times: This is my fist, and I'm shakin' it at you!


David Allen said...

I was dismayed for the same reason. If the comics are almost too small for a fella in his 40s to read -- and they were -- the Times is sure to hear from a lot of older readers on this.

However, the Times didn't shrink the comics to insert a house ad. Starting today, the paper is now narrower by about an inch. Three columns of comics are still three columns of comics, only now they take up less space -- including vertically.

Some of the second-page comics are now on the first page to fill in the slack there; the house ad took up the slack on the second page.

The only way to run the comics the former size (which was verging on too small to begin with) would be to only run comics in one stack per page, over about four columns.

Anonymous said...

I gave up on the Times late last year after taking it for 25+ years. I just couldn't take all the changes anymore and justify paying for what I can get for free on the internet machine.
They call every week to try and lure me back but no way, jose.
I'm done.

K said...

I subscribe to both the Times and the Daily Bulletin, out of a perhaps-misguided sense that I ought to support the industry as we wait for a more robust economic model for news-gathering to emerge. Ehh, plus I spend all day staring at a computer screen, so it's kinda nice to hold a paper in my hands to start my day.

I thought that some of the changes the Times was making made sense -- why not move up the print deadline and just print a single section of breaking news? I can always go to the web or other media for up-to-the-minute results, but I depend on the newspapers for in-depth reporting that takes up a whole bunch of room. Perfect.

But shrinking the comics is just asinine. They're messing with two of the few strengths they have -- high resolution and browseability. Why not just move stuff around to have a third page of comics and more room for the ads that they really want, anyway?

meg said...

And today's news is that Dan Neil, the Pulitzer-prize-winning automotive columnist, is departing for the Wall Street Journal.

What a pathetic excuse for a paper.

David Allen said...

Dan Neil's leaving? Noooooo!

Is it possible I can get along without the LAT? I wouldn't have thought it possible -- even in its weakened state, is there a better newspaper in California? -- but this week's developments are shaking my faith.

calwatch said...

Ten years ago the Mercury News would have challenged the current LA Times, and five years ago the Chronicle would have been better than today's LA Times. Honestly, on the west coast, in terms of covering their communities, I would argue that the Seattle Times may now be the West's flagship newspaper. Sure the Times still has (some) journalists in far flung parts of the world, but the Seattle Times has been one of the most consistent papers covering their whole service area, and of course it's family owned.