Whenever a news media outlet starts, and publicizes, its debut coverage of Los Angeles with a top ten list from local billionaire Eli Broad -- not to mention what's essentially a press release from a big time, local politician ... in this case, L.A. County Board Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky -- you know it's getting off to a shaky start.
And that's exactly what HuffPo L.A. did yesterday with a post written by senior editor Willow Bay.
Maybe things will turn around quickly at HuffPo L.A.
But for now it's acting more as a cheerleader for the political and cultural elite of this town rather than reporting about such things as the medical marijuana controversy, students taking over a building at U.C.L.A. to protest tuition hikes or Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa once again flying out of the country while things are far from perfect at home.
Sure, there's always a valuable place for L.A.'s cool cultural trends and interesting artists in any publication, which we cover at the Weekly. But HuffPo L.A.'s debut coverage seriously lacks in any kind of newsworthy heft.
These lines written by self-described social entrepreneur Jonathan Greenblatt read as if Villaraigosa's handlers came up with them:
"Yet, the City of Angels seems a well-deserved
name because it's a city that frequently prompts our better angels," writes Greenblatt.
"Despite the negative press, LA is a vibrant hub of ethnicities and ideas,
a thriving metropolis that spurs continuous innovation for the common
good. Among its 20 million residents, LA has nurtured a number
of remarkable hands-on social entrepreneurs. Indeed, the city
hosts some of the pioneering, pro-social organizations in the world."
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That last line is something straight out of the Villaraigosa's public relations playbook.
What's even more frustrating is that the undercurrent of many of the debut posts -- from Broad to Yaroslavsky to Greenblatt -- gives off the feel of a big city with a huge inferiority complex.
It's strange, disappointing stuff -- especially coming from such a smart, news savvy woman as Arianna Huffington.
Contact Patrick Range McDonald at email@example.com.