NOTE: Republished on Online Journalism Review: http://www.ojr.org/ojr/people/webjournalist/201103/1952/
My wife and I recently decided to subscribe to the newspaper again. We’re ‘weekender’ subscribers to the Los Angeles Times. Like most papers, the size is a fraction of what it use to be, but the content is as diverse as the city it covers.
I, like most modern news consumers, have not had much time to actually sit down with the paper product, even through we only get it Thursday through Sunday.
But today, over the breakfast table, we get our fingers dirty with ink print (which I love) and dug in.
I could not ignore the great, diverse photos that filled the paper – the majority of the great shots from staff. So much so, I had to write this post.
In this one, random edition [Saturday, March 5, 2011], I found great photos throughout the sections of the paper. Check them out below… all of them, but one are available online.
Since his return in late December, a longtime opposition group leader has become more vocal in his denunciation of Moammar Kadafi. But some experts say such groups have been gone too long to be of much help to the rebels in the streets.
Anwar Magariaf fought from abroad against Moammar Kadafi's rule for more than 30 years. (Rick Loomis, Los Angeles Times / March 4, 2011)
Looks like the photo was removed from the site.]
John Allen is accused of promoting cheating on standardized tests; L.A. Unified closed all six schools in the group.
Just after the charter group’s governing board decided unanimously to fire him as executive director, John Allen, founder of Crescendo schools, leans against a wall. Shortly thereafter, he left the meeting. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times / March 4, 2011)
Residents of Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Hills complain that an increase in tour buses — crowded with photo-snapping visitors — is clogging narrow residential streets.
Reflected in a bus mirror, visitors Sharon Butchart of Uxbridge, Canada, left, and Miriam Leiser of Ramsey, N.J., use headphones to listen to their tour guide. (Liz O. Baylen, Los Angeles Times / February 23, 2011)
Aaron Liberman and his brother Nathaniel earn kudos for their work ethic as Valley Torah prepares for 6AA Southern Section basketball championship game against Bishop Diego on Saturday.
Brothers Aaron and Nathaniel Liberman after a recent Valley Torah practice in Burbank. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / March 2, 2011)
Only part of portrait photo, taken by Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times, of ornithologist Peter Harrison is seen in the archive
and sadly not available online version: Scientists announce discovery of new species of seabird, the first in 89 years
To be fair, there were some great stories too, especially the ones paired with the photos. From the latest on Libya to California having the highest gas prices in the country to LAPD’s dilemma with Charlie Sheen, a good mix of stories that caught my (limited) attention. My favorite, though, was this piece my wife spotted inside business: Spiders in Mazda cars still a mystery (print headline)
I have to say, this experience reminds me of an incredibly powerful piece by Robert Niles in OJR a few months back: Letting go of the rope: Why I’m no longer a newspaper subscriber.
In it he used the strong imagery of letting go of the rope while someone, who asked for help but failed to do anything to improve their situation, was still holding on. The person on the rope was the newspaper/news industry.
Personally, I think Niles forgot something.
Yes, the news industry needs to do more to get itself out of the situation. But, the only person he saw on the rope, in my opinion, was the leadership.
What I think Niles missed are the hundreds of people trapped under that leadership … the ones that are passionate and believe in the value of their craft… the ones that — even after layoffs, furloughs and bad pay – come to work every day, working long hours to tell the stories of the community in text, photos, videos or whatever form the best they can.
Journalists that are as frustrated as Niles, but are trapped under that leadership. Journalists that choose not to let go of the rope. Journalists that are trying to do what they can with what they have … in most cases, “more with less.”
Don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of crap too (Check out Churnalism.com). There is a long way to go to make this better. I’m also as frustrated as Niles is with the leadership.
But I can’t lump the great, good or even mediocre work journalists do across the country every day and night with the bad leadership and poor business decisions that have undercut them and our industry.
I’m just a weekender, and for this one edition, I’m glad we re-subscribed.