The Los Angeles Times is becoming the Rodney Dangerfield of local media.
Not only does it get no respect, but its cross-country rival, the paper it once aspired to challenge for American journalistic supremacy, has reached out across the miles to report that the LAT "has joined the city's impossible freeway traffic as a unifying force of complaint."
The NYT quotes longtime readers who have canceled subscriptions and turned away from their once-daily habit. Of course ...
... the people it quotes are all over 50 -- people who remember the good old days when the paper weighed pounds.
They're never going to get that fat, cat-killing weekday Times on their porches again. And the paper has shed nearly half its staff in the last 10 years.
On the other hand, it's still a great institution. And while its elder readers might be hurumphing over the fact that the Times doesn't cover Orange County or the Philippines the way it once did, it's been expanding coverage where the eyeballs are - online.
And take it from us, the Times isn't the only paper in town to hear people whistling "The Way We Were." The Weekly gets it all the time.
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SHOW ME HOW
Part of it has to do with almost-instant ability for readers to weigh in. No letters. No stamps. Just comment and publish. It also has to do with the changes that none of us like - fewer people doing more of the coverage in town.
And here's the thing: L.A., despite its Third World stereotypes, is an edgy, forward-thinking place where readers have migrated online moreso than elsewhere.
Reporting about oldsters canceling their "subscriptions" is kind of like moaning about the death of the landline phone.
Perhaps the griping is because change isn't happening fast enough.