Bye-bye now

LA Times Editor Dean Baquet has been forced out. Well, I’m crying no tears. Someone in the news business pushed me yesterday with the idea that Baquet was doing God’s work and I went ballistic. Quite the contrary, I said, rather than pushing to preserve the past, he should have been pushing his bosses to be investing in the future. He should have been investing in networked journalism to take the paper hyperlocal and in online and audio and video to take the paper past paper. He should have made his own cuts in the old newsroom to pay for those investments. He should have had a vision and strategy for the future. Whining at corporate is no damned strategy at all. Dean Baquet was dangerous for journalism because he was defending the past rather than fighting for the future. Bye-bye now.

  • JD

    Indeed — what business in its right mind suffers a significant fall-off in customers and yet has the same number of factory workers. Baquet had the perfect scapegoat (“those damn beancounters at corporate”) to institute the major changes that Jeff recommends without having to justify the underlying reasons why, but he decided instead to tweak the nose of his boss and ride out in a blaze of bullshit. Now if Pinch would consider this strategy to reform the other Times…

  • Andrew Wood

    What business indeed?

    The problem is that editors, especially US editors, somehow believe they are not involved in business. They need to get real, or at least get an MBA.

  • Jeff, Amen.

  • Franky

    Democrats are winning.
    So, Jeff, bye-bye now. You come back, you hear?

  • The election results are pretty interesting. Looks like it’s going to be a fun 2 years ahead for Bush.

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  • Jeff, I drew a cartoon about this VERY SAME subject:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jeffers!

  • “Dean Baquet was dangerous for journalism because he was defending the past rather than fighting for the future. ”

    The LAT is hemorrhaging circulation, has no coverage of Orange County or its own metro area worthy of the name, and poses as a highbrow version of the SF Chronicle or a Left Coast NYT. Baquet was an empty suit plumping for Pulitzers when he should have been growing the business.

  • Well, I feel for the dude. Kinda sorta. Now he’ll be forced to shut-up and blog just like the rest of us.

  • Ooops. And there goes Philly. And Akron. Starting to look like the Bush Admin out there in newspaper land.

  • Chris

    I work in the newspaper business and give this post a standing O. The reaction (Editor and Publisher represented it as “Anger across the industry”) to this departure is stunning in its reactionary blindness to the challenges the news industry faces.

    So many are acting like the president has been shot or something. They’re mourning a man whose bold idea for the future was to assign a team of — yes this is true — investigative reporters to research what would bring readers back!

    Gosh, anybody wanna bet their report would have said more long-form coverage of institutions and the developing world is just what the doctor ordered?

    That’s it! Let’s ask REPORTERS! Because they’re so open-minded and accept that change is good! Whatever.

    If editors follow his model and refuse to change, and continue the push for Pulitzers as opposed to a push for information in a multitude of forms from a multitude of sources on a multitude of subjects, then their news organizations are doomed.

    There is a small core of people in the industry who struggle for necessary change. Unfortunately, they’re losing the war that’s currently going on in the newsroom between baby boomers focused on their Luddite proclivities and retirement and those of us who love this business and want to do what it will take to make it survive.

    Wish us luck.

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  • The old guard of our newsrooms is what is wrong with the newspaper industry at many papers. I had to remove an editor last May who did not get it — was not adapting to the fact that we should be publishing 24/7/365 when we’ve got the story ready…and that we also just happen to put out a print product each morning, or every week if your newspaper is a weekly community newspaper or regional business journal. That has to be the mindset of the entire org. What is exciting is that so many news(papers) DO get it and are pushing their quality local journalism on the web every day, in new ways to attract readers. Google, et al, can never replace or match our local knowledge. The web is the best thing that has happened to the newspaper industry because we can publish more often, at less cost, and build our local brand dominance.

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  • Frank

    How about free color Peter Max spreads in the Sunday Edition? It worked for the Daily News in the 60’s…

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  • rich Kapl

    Lot of mean-spirited people on this blog, which I am going to rename “No Tears.” Sure, one needs to try and capture an audience in all ways possible, but why suck up to corporations. Rutten said it so forcefully in the very pages of the Times: In this country, our press rises and falls depending on how it can hack a profit for its owners. That surely can’t be the best way to ensure a powerful inclusive press that reaches a broad audince. That same corporate press accepted a massive fall in readers since the 1950s, as long as it retained the majroity of advertsing revenues.

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