Where they can cut

You may have heard the L.A. Times is cutting not only 150 jobs in its newsroom, but 15 percent of its pages. The Guide and Highway 1 are goners, with more sections and pages likely to get the heave-ho, according to the LA Observed blog.

Gazing into my crystal ball, I predict the Times, in its quest to cut pages without harming itself, will have no choice but to drop its Pomona coverage.

Granted, based on stories so far in 2008, that will free up…what? Maybe five column inches per month? I’m a pretty thorough reader and what with a Home feature on a garden, a Calendar piece on an art show, a California feature on the mayor and a couple of other news stories, Pomona has been the subject of perhaps five stories, plus a few briefs, through all of this year.

And this has actually been a good year for Pomona by Times standards. The L.A. County Fair is usually good for one story and maybe a standalone photo. Sometimes that and a couple of briefs is all Pomona gets in a year.

So, it’s safe to say the fifth-largest city in L.A. County can be ignored without readers even noticing the difference.

As for what else the Times can cut, any mention of the 909, from Riverside to La Verne, could also go. I read the so-called Inland Empire Edition and it’s a rarity to have any Inland Empire news in it. Drop whatever there is, mostly obits of Claremont artists, and you’ve freed up, oh, two more pages per year, maybe three.

After that, Times, you’re on your own. What do I look like, your Innovation Editor?

(Completely seriously: Speaking as a devoted Times reader, 150 jobs is a lot to lose. You could put out an entire newspaper with 150 people. The Daily Bulletin, at its peak, had around 120 newsroom positions, and now it’s more like 50, a number of whom are shared with the San Bernardino Sun. So the cuts are in no way a good thing.)

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  • Agreeable. The Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times used to have complete coverage of all sorts of topics on Sundays, the music section is a pale imitation of what it used to be. And the Inland Empire section in the LAT is focusing on Riverside and even Palm Springs so it’s not just the area the Daily Bulletin and Sun focus on.

    Maybe if the Los Angles Times and the Los Angeles Newspaper Group want to cut costs in a new way, they should try a new layout format to cut costs. Try the Berliner as a newspaper format. The UK Guardian uses it as an example.

  • Michelle from Chino

    Speaking of the LA Times, Steve Harvey’s column “Only in L.A.” made reference to you in Sunday’s edition (California section, B3). He mentioned your thoughts on the casting call for “Suburban Rhapsody.”

    [Thanks for noticing. — DA]

  • Charles Bentley

    It’s a very distressing time for those of us who grew up reading newspapers and aspiring to be part of the profession. Take it from this Southern California native, the once proud Los Angeles Times is now just a shell of its former self. And that is the norm for almost every Southern California newspaper.

    News and opinion are already controlled by way too many gatekeepers that look at what makes cents rather than what represents good sense. The public watchdog is on a corporate leash — make that a choke chain — that doesn’t provide any opportunity for information, protection or oversight. And it’s the underrepresented and distraught that find their needs ignored for such important topics as what Britney Spears did last night or how A-Rod is using Kabbalah to improve his play on and off the field.

    And now bloggers want to be treated as “respected” journalists and news sources? This is not a swipe at you, David, who have a strong journalism background, but most blogs offer about as much integrity and research as the wall in a public bathroom.

    To revise your comment, the direction the newspaper business is heading is in no way a good thing.