The Los Angeles Times coverage of its own backyard is now officially a charity case.
The paper today announced proudly that it has received a $1 million grant from the Ford Foundation to “expand its coverage of key beats, including immigration and ethnic communities in Southern California … ” The corporate public relations rep even sent us a link to the story.
Now, the last time we checked, the Times was a for-profit operation:
And while the Times' corporate parent, the Tribune Company, is an epic FAIL stumbling through bankruptcy court as we speak, the paper itself would be profitable without the genius Sam Zell on its back.
Frankly, we find it bizarre that the publication would have to turn to nonprofit help to cover its own communities.
Well give it credit for trying, at least. One of the lessons of the L.A. riots, which saw a 20th anniversary last month, was that all of the city's people need to be invested in its leadership and media coverage.
But, if anything, the number of minorities at L.A.'s publications has dwindled in the last two decades. The idea that media moguls need to go out of their way to make their products representative of the area they cover seems to have died in the 1990s.
We found it laughable when we heard about how one L.A. publication editor wagged her finger at the Times, saying that if she were in charge she'd have reporters take a tour of the city (you know, to breathe in its true diversity). This from a person who doesn't have one Latino writer on her staff. Or African American. Not one. In a city that's half Latino.
Anyway, the Times says it's going to use its newfound cash to “hire journalists who will focus on the Vietnamese, Korean and other immigrant communities … “
In other words, to do the job it's supposed to be doing anyway.