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Can Draw As Many Readers Away From LA Sports Outlets As It Has Writers?*

December 21, 2009 in LA, LA bloggers, Media, Online, Sports, Twitter

ESPN’s new online hub for local sports,, officially launched today, providing a new source for LA Sports news, as well as a new home for several LA Sports writers, including the LA Times’ (former) Lakers bloggers.

ESPNLosAngeles.comMeant as a hub for local online sports coverage one could set as their homepage, the site features SoCal-specific “SportsCenter” segments, local breaking news, and direct links to pages for all the major pro teams, including the Galaxy, Chivas USA, the LA Sparks, as well as the Angels and Ducks. There’s also a “Headlines” tab you can click to view nationwide sports headlines, in case you care about what happens outside of our little bubble. ESPN launched similar local sites for Dallas, Boston and Chicago earlier this year, and the sports network opened a new broadcast studio (along with an ESPN Zone sports bar) Downtown at LA Live this past spring.

But the best part of the site is the local team blogs and columnists, providing quick-access to news and columns about your favorite teams that is also easy to subscribe to by e-mail or RSS feed to keep up on everything. The other ESPN city sites have Twitter accounts you can follow as well, but as of this writing, @ESPNLosAngeles exists but hasn’t tweeted a thing. The @ESPNLosAngeles Twitter account is also up and running, providing links to stories on the site. So far there’s a USC blog (but no UCLA blog yet), a Clippers blog (sort of – it links to the outside, part of an ESPN affiliate network), and of course, that Lakers Blog, which is basically a direct transplant from the LA Times’ Lakers Blog. Brian and Andy Kamenetzky, who just yesterday afternoon announced their departure from, pick up at ESPN right where they left off, except now the blog is called “Land O’ Lakers”. The Lakers Blog was regularly one of the most-visited on the site, sometimes getting over a million page views per month. No announcement has been made yet as to who or what will replace the brothers at It seems that, at least for now, a few different staff writers are taking turns contributing posts to the Lakers Blog to keep it going.

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Would you pay $13 a month for LA Times online subscription?

October 21, 2009 in Media, Online

LA Times has unveiled their new  eEdition, “a reproduction of the print edition– online” for $12.99 per month.  Considering that I just got a year of 7-day home delivery of the actual print edition for $75, or $6.25 per month, and they are offering print subscribers the online subscription at no extra cost, I’m wondering what the strategery is here.

Access to its archives is one thing LAT is offering as part of the deal, and they are also touting that it’s available at 5:30 AM everyday, unlike the online edition, which is available the preceding midnight, contains much more news and, um, it’s free– for now.

I guess this is a first step (and trial balloon) for the online paid subscription model we’ve been hearing about from other newpapers in dire straits– which means the vast majority of them.

As a side note, is streaming Inventing LA, the recent doc about the Chandlers and the LA Times. Worth a look.

Shepard Fairey Statement on Associated Press Fair Use Case

October 16, 2009 in Art, Media, Politics

Shepard Fairey has released a statement and updated his filing in his fair use case with the AP. He writes:


“Throughout the case, there has been a question as to which Mannie Garcia photo I used as a reference to design the HOPE image. The AP claimed it was one photo, and I claimed it was another.

The new filings state for the record that the AP is correct about which photo I used as a reference and that I was mistaken. While I initially believed that the photo I referenced was a different one, I discovered early on in the case that I was wrong.

In an attempt to conceal my mistake I submitted false images and deleted other images. I sincerely apologize for my lapse in judgment and I take full responsibility for my actions which were mine alone. I am taking every step to correct the information and I regret I did not come forward sooner.

I am very sorry to have hurt and disappointed colleagues, friends, and family who have supported me in this difficult case and trying time in my life.”

There is more to the statement which he has posted on his site.

It’s no secret that Shepard is a personal friend of mine and I’ve been very vocal about my support him and this case. My support has not been based on the fact that we are friends, but because I really do believe in the principals and importance of fair use, and feel this issue strikes at the heart of it. I think it’s in the financial interest of the AP to limit fair use, and I think it’s in the best interest of creatives, both professional and amateur alike, for fair use to upheld. I say that as a career publisher who has worked with and for musicians, visual artists, photographers and writers for the last 16 years. This statement by Shepard is obviously shocking and disappointing, but what will be more disappointing is if this takes focus away from the real issues the case brings up. I’ve always felt that the question of which photo was used was a footnote and I fear this now threatens to overshadow the much larger, and much more important discussion.

It’s not too late to blame the dragons.

September 2, 2009 in Books, Crime, Media, News

A few short hours ago it looked like my gut reaction that the Angeles National Forest fire had been caused by a fiendish rapscallion (I’m no longer using the word “terrorist”) wasn’t far off the mark.

But wait, what’s this? A new report on KNX 1070 says that the U.S. Forest Service has retracted its earlier “human caused” statement about the fire.

What does this mean? It means my two-year-old daughter’s assertion that dragons are behind the blaze may still be a valid theory.

You can run, Puff, but you can’t hide.

Image: A Michael Martchenko illustration from Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess.

Where’s The Fire?

August 27, 2009 in Media

In this day and age of instant information, I find myself becoming increasingly frustrated when I can’t find an answer immediately. Just this evening, I left work and noticed fire and smoke in some hills that looked like they might be near Burbank or Glendale. Driving along the 5, I saw that the flames were close to Glendale.


Photo by Jodi

Wanting to know more, I tuned my radio to a “news” station. In the span of 14 minutes, I heard about some traffic in Sherman Oaks, a dead model’s car, a professional football game, and a kidnapping victim discovery. Finally…a fire update! Two fires were mentioned, but neither was the one I was driving alongside. When I got home, I scoured the internet with no luck. The LAFD site hasn’t been updated since Tuesday (granted, I know they are very busy) and most people on twitter were questioning and speculating as well.

So, what source do you turn to for breaking news in L.A.? Please help! I need to know NOW!

LA Times Gets a New Blog-esque Look

August 13, 2009 in Media

Witness the new website for the LA Times: it looks like a blog  – a longer scroll to the bottom, a new font, and a little more blog-like.

Before (an October 2008 screen grab of the LAT’s old website):

Former LA Times page

After (this morning’s revamped page):

LA Times

What do we think?

Anderson Cooper 420

July 25, 2009 in Media, Television

acpot3Anderson Cooper ventured into a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles recently and brought along a camera crew to capture him ogling the goods for sale. It was one segment of a circumspect, comprehensive (for MSM, anyway) report about the movement to legalize the weed that I watched last night on his CNN news program, Anderson Cooper 360. By turns balanced and illuminating, it examined perceived pros and cons to consider in the march to legalization.

Cooper was drolly amusing as he perused the LA pot store, pausing to consider the different pot-laced goodies– brownies, cakes, sodas, biscotti, gelato (!) and of course, the dried weed itself. At one point, he paused to open a jar and took a whiff. “Smells like marijuana,” he said dryly, his blue eyes twinkling. Read the rest of this entry →

Qualified arts critics in Los Angeles?

July 24, 2009 in Entertainment, Media

Local theater has a hard enough time drawing audiences here. Apathetic critics don’t help.

Something that Marc Haefele mentioned in his most recent post on Metblogs has stayed with me since I read it:  his opening sentence wherein he mentions overhearing  “the arts editor of a prominent local weekly… say she didn’t like opera and didn’t know anyone who did.”

Having been to my share of LA Opera performances, some that I have enjoyed more than others, I was shocked to hear of a supposed cultural gatekeeper in the guise of an arts editor coming forth with a blanket disdain for a particular, um, art. Perhaps she needs to broaden her circle of friends and get out more–  or at least find another area of journalism to work in.

I got the same feeling today when I read a theater review in the LA Times by Charlotte Stoudt. Granted, it was a review of Octomom, The Musical, playing at the Fake Gallery on Melrose and Heliotrope. But her opening sentence may have tipped her hand about her feelings towards live theater, along with her qualifications to review it:

“It was only a matter of time before the exploits of Nadya Suleman trickled down to that most lowly of entertainment forms, live theater.”

It left me wondering where on her hierarchy of “entertainment forms” she places, say, WWF or TMZ, which she mentions being well aware of in her review. Something tells me she also is not an opera buff.

And for all we know, you could take her upfront dismissal of theater overall as a ringing endorsement of Octomom.

Help pay for Michael Jackson’s Memorial

July 7, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, LA, Law Enforcement, Media, Music, People, Politics, Rants

For everyone in L.A. who has complained about taxpayer money going toward the Michael Jackson Memorial, Mayor Villaraigosa has officially resorted to begging for money. (I’ve seen people on Twitter asking how a bankrupt state like California can afford this. It can’t, but California is not footing the bill, the City of Los Angeles is. And no, L.A. can’t afford it either.)

As an L.A. resident, I, for one, am totally OK with that (the begging, not the footing of the bill). Since us L.A. folks have basically already paid for this, I’d ESPECIALLY love it if non-Angelenos would step up and pitch in. That’s right… not only can you honor the King of Pop, your donations are also tax-deductible! (Click here for the PayPal link)

Want to snail mail your check in?

Donations are being accepted to help defray the costs of providing public safety, traffic control and related costs associated with the Michael Jackson Memorial at the Staples Center. Please submit your donations by check payable to: “City of Los Angeles”.
Donation Mailing Address:
Room 255, City Hall
200 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Donations of any amount will be gratefully accepted. All donations are tax-deductible.

If you’re a Michael fan, consider giving a small donation to help us celebrate his extraordinary life and music.


PS – Jackson Family, my sincerest condolences for your loss, but please step forward to help foot some of these bills. That goes for you, too, AEG — you stand to make a ton with all the footage from those rehearsal videos at Staples Center, as well as any tribute concerts that are yet to come. Seriously, help a financially strapped city out. It’s not just the right thing to do, but it makes good business sense, as well.

Remember when CNN actually covered news?

July 7, 2009 in Celebrity, Downtown, Media

Well as you can see from the front page of right now, those days are long gone: - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News

On the bright side, I guess it’s not just everyone in LA getting hoodwinked by this sham. Misery loves company right? Right??

Mayor’s Girlfriend is Having Fun

June 25, 2009 in Media, Politics

Lu Parker, AKA The Mayor’s girlfriend, is tweeting again. She loves crazy celebrity deaths! They’re exciting and fun!


GOOD Magazine moves to survive

June 9, 2009 in Media

In a cost cutting measure, GOOD Magazine moved out of its stylish Melrose headquarters last week and into a new space a few blocks away on Citrus off of Highland.

Considering it had only moved into its previous offices at the end of last year, it’s a fast turn of events for the magazine, which skipped its second full issue of this year to instead publish a tongue-in-cheek  “stop-gap” flyer about the new economic reality.

As I pointed out in a previous post about the magazine’s temporary financial woes, it also is cutting back from six to four print issues a year.

GOOD is not alone in key respects: The downturn in print media specifically, along with the global economic downturn in general in combination with its admitted overspending during headier financial times, necessitated the scaling down.

The next issue will focus on the planet’s threatened water supply, a topic any Angeleno should find relevant, what with the recently imposed mandatory water restrictions in LA.

“LA Weekend” April 24-25 Celebrates 30 Years of the LA Weekly

April 15, 2009 in Art, Books, Celebrity, Events, Food & Drink, LA, Media, Music

So the LA Weekly‘s been publishing for 30 years now! Thirty years since visionary Jay Ulin launched the iconoclastic free weekly. It’s changed a lot since then–like the city–and these days not everyone’s happy with the changes. LA Weekly's LA WeekendIt should be said it’s not seeing the Amazon-rainforest-esque destruction that the LA Times has been seeing; its editorial dep’t has not been quite laid to waste the way it has at the Times. But are people still reading the way they used to? With page counts dropping, one wonders.

All that aside, it’s time to celebrate the paper’s continued existence with LA Weekend, a two-day extravaganza of some of the high points of LA art & culture–much of which has been discovered, championed, or affiliated with the storied newsweekly over the decades. From a “Meat Lovers’ Panel” to occasional LA Metblogs author Wil Wheaton, it’s quite an assembly. Not quite sure how the Meat Lovers’ Panel will fare, scheduled as it is opposite the Grilled Cheese Invitational, necessitating a painful choice for fans of high-calorie repasts.

Full schedule behind the jump.

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Trippin’ It Way-Back Style

April 13, 2009 in History, LA, Media, Vintage

In the midst of remodeling/renovation of our 102-year-old Silver Lake craftsman, my wife and I were tasked yesterday with clearing out the dungeon basement to make room for work and machinery that will ultimately be oh-so-glorious central air and heating.

During the course of that fun and dust-choked chore, I happened upon a crumpled-up and very yellowed section of newspaper wedged for reasons unknown between a support beam and the concrete floor of the home’s original front porch. Excavating it tore the aging classified pages up, but afterward I found a fragment that showed it was the Los Angeles Times of Sunday,  Sepember 2, 1945 and later on I sat down with my camera on macro and snapped some of the amazing real estate ads, along with some interesting employment opps, as well as the news that famed conductor Leopold Stokowsi would be twirling the baton that evening at the Hollywood Bowl joined by legendary violinist Isaac Stern in a program of Wagner, Tchaikovsky and more:

Time Capsule: September 2, 1945

Anyway, if you’re in need of a diversion this Monday that’ll take you back 68 63 years or so to the Los Angeles of a couple months after the end of World War II, feel free to browse my Flickr photoset.

NBC names new cop show after crap movie, runs ed-vertisement on LA Times front page for it

April 10, 2009 in Media

Or maybe I mean adver-torial.

latladI saw the large L-shaped NBC ad meant to resemble an actual article on the front page of yesterday’s print edition of the LA Times and it did cause me to pause, for two reasons: It took up a lot of space where I’m used to seeing news and looked clunky. And it was for a new cop show, curiously with almost the same title, Southland, as a crap movie I had the bad fortune of enduring last year. (Actually, the first 10 minutes of Southland Tales were really good, compared to the following 145 minutes, which were really, really bad.)

I don’t watch much TV, never watch cop shows, but I do read a lot of newspapers, the print editions. For all of the trouble both the network and the paper took to formulate the ad, you would think it wouldn’t have looked like, according to an article in today’s NY Times raking LAT over the coals for this latest embarrassment, “the kind of thing that says, ‘Sell Us Your Gold” inside the paper or something.” As it turns out, the ad was LAT’s idea in the first place.

The NYT article also contains some amusing ad-speak from NBC’s marketing president, Adam Storsky, that would not be out of place in farce.

“What was great about this ad unit is it gave us a quote-unquote ‘editorial voice,’ ” he said. (Sigh. Did he really say, “quote-unquote?” Did he also cackle like Richard E. Grant in How to Get Ahead in Advertising and make the little finger dance when he said it?)

After editor Russ Stanton’s hastily organized hand-wringing session yesterday with disgruntled employees protesting the ad, LAT released a statement with phrases like “innovative approaches,” “unique marketing opportunities” and “stretch traditional boundaries.”

So continues the desperation dance of stumbling media giants.