LA Metblogs vs. the LA Weekly: What can we do better?

I try to peruse K-Rod‘s LA Observed on a semi-regular basis, and so when I stumbled upon this mention of an internal note from the LA Weekly, naming LA Metblogs (among other great city blogs like LAist and LA Observed) as a “competitor blog” to the Weekly’s own, well, I must admit to feeling a flush of pride. The Weekly’s been an institution in LA since Jay Levin fired it up in 1978, and while its quality has fluctuated with the times it still is, in my opinion, one of the flagship sources for local journalism & writing that provides a strong sense of place.

I’d like to ask you, our readers, what you’d like to see more of on LA Metblogs, and how you think we can serve you better. At first I thought I’d ask for you to send me feedback via e-mail, so no other media outlets could bogart the good ideas; but really, it would be great if every news/culture pub in LA could raise its game–so fire away in the comments.

The memo in its entirety is here on LA Observed.

57 Replies to “LA Metblogs vs. the LA Weekly: What can we do better?”

  1. I’m still amused that this raging and fascinating debate started when a commenter suggested that we assign a theater reviewer. I guess that’s one more difference between journalism and blogging. Due to blogging’s interactive nature (when open commenting is allowed), blog posts often spin off in an unexpected direction.

  2. Apropos of (the direction that) this post (has taken), there’s an astonishing piece of footage from CNBC on the Huffington Post (a hugely successful blog that is perhaps the model for newspapers of the future) today. Apparently, CNBC’s Silicon Valley Bureau Chief, Jim Goldman, took stenography from the Apple P.R. Dept. and uncritically, and erroneously, reported that Steve Jobs’ health was fine. Jobs, who had said he merely had a “hormone imbalance” that wasn’t too serious, now admits that his health problems are “more complicated” than that. Apple’s stock price has gyrated wildly with the changing narrative, and apparently rose after Goldman’s erroneous report.

    In this CNBC segment, Newsweek’s tech columnist, Dan Lyons, rips Goldman for being “punked” and “played” by Apple and for not doing his journalist’s job of checking the facts, especially where, according to Lyons, “the guy running P.R. at Apple used to be the CNBC bureau chief.” CNBC host Dennis Kneale tries to come to Goldman’s rescue, by making the mind-blowing statement that “The dirty secret of journalism is, you have to believe most of what you’re told. You, you, you can’t check every single thing.” Lyons asks, “if you want to repeat press releases, why have the press?”

    Given the state of journalism at CNBC, and the many instances of journalists acting like stenographers in recent years (can you say, Iraq War? Can you say, Judy Miller?), I’m happy to be in the camp of the bloggers, who are often out in front of the journalists.

  3. The list could go on but I think I made my point.

    You have? Halberstam, HST, and Terkel were jaded crank-turners? Really? They turned in 8 inches and punched the clock?

    I see a lot of copy written by journalism degree holders in my local fishwrap every day that is passionless. They’re doing a job, not digging, not trying to find out what’s going on, just punching the clock. And on the other side I see bloggers writing remarkable stuff every day because it’s what they’re passionate about.

    I’m saying give me one passionate person over mediocrity. You say I’m wrong because of a handful of greats. It’s like me saying I’d rather have the ’08 Dodgers over the ’08 Mariners and you screaming “WELL WHAT ABOUT GRIFFEY HUH HUH HUH?”

    Dylan…I walk around with 3 cameras, a .3megapixel che-ez, my cell phone and my DSLR. The camera doesn’t matter its the images impact that counts. Don’t sell yourself short if the image works you did good.

    Oh, I totally agree. I was just pointing out that the tools and the photographer don’t matter if the picture is right.

  4. Clearly bloggers are journalists.

    Just because you blog and don’t follow the “rules” of journalism doesn’t mean you’re not a journalist. You’re still publishing information about current events for public consumption.

    Just because you don’t do something well doesn’t mean you don’t do it.

    The sad thing is that people who are good journalists are being pushed out of their jobs not because of bloggers, but because newspapers and magazines are based on a model that just can’t sustain itself when readership is down. If papers and mags were run by intelligent people they would cut the printed product and just go web-only.

    I believe I read something that said that the online ad revenue from the LAT was enough to sustain the entire editorial department. Clearly something needs to change. Instead of firing journalists, stop printing yesterday’s news tomorrow on dead tree pulp.

    Having bloggers write for free when the company they work for is profiting from their work is unethical. It’s a good starting point for people just trying to get their words seen by the unwashed masses, but it still sucks that they don’t get a cut of the money the business makes from their content.

  5. Also I’m not sure how MB is run now, but when I was writing for b.la one of the main reasons why I quit was the pressure from the top to meet the quota of several posts per week. If someone is doing something for free for you, it doesn’t seem right to yell at them when they’re not doing it fast enough.

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