April 19, 2007


steve p

You are *exactly* right about the disappointing online section. You should have consulted them on the redesign!

Kit Stolz

It's still early. In the future, when more people are accustomed to reading on-line, my hope is that the print section becomes equivalent to Hemingway's famous tip of the iceberg--the most visible, most concise, and best work--with the other 95% being book facts, interviews, relevant other reviews, on-line debates, and so on and so forth. But for that to happen, the web section will have to be more than an afterthought; it will have to be a foundation, from which the print section emerges.


Wait. You like Safran Foer?


I do. I thought the first book was quite fine; wasn't as wild about the second one. But I think he's quite talented, still, even after reading this mawkish essay.

And Kit, I agree, but the LA Times has a choice - they can wait until this day you point to, when people are accustomed to being online, and then follow the pacl; or they can take the lead today and give people a real interest in going to the web right now. Ulin is smart enough that I honestly think he could pull off the latter but they have to take it more seriously than they appear to so far.


I've spent my week trying to understand the promised/undelivered "synthesis" of the web portion. You are spot-on with the pretending at bloggishness that goes on in the Jacket Copy section. What IS that? Infuriating.

The lack of print expansion online was also irritating. To your point, there are many audio, video, visual and other content items that would been ideally suited to appear in the web portion that directly links to the content that appears in print.

I also find the lack of links in their readings listings to be atrocious. But this has always been the case - for all events listed in CalendarLive - not just author readings. You simply cannot link externally - which seems to be some sort of LAT rule. Sadly, that is the antithesis of what the interwebs can offer a paper with a reduced staff and reduced column inches.

We can cross our fingers and hope it gets better. We can cross our fingers and hope they...consult us! :-)


Ach. The only Foer brother with talent is Frank, of New Republic fame. There's rumors going around of a third somewhere (god help us) in Manhattan with a book in the works. But Jonathan? Sweet mercy. I know lamp-shades with more talent than that darling of the modish books-as-fashion crowd. We have it on Dr. Johnson's authority no less that art is of no use unless its exceptional, and Foer, like so many of the names being bandied about in the dailies, cannot be exceptional unless the meaning of the word is considerably devalued. In any case, the renting of East Coast insipidity and faux-celebrity by-lines for use in their pages, doesn't bode well for the L.A. Times. The presence of Henri Cole however is redemptive; it will be interesting to see if the editors continue to cull from THAT pool of talent.

S.L. Stebel

A lot of points well taken - when space is limited every word counts - why waste the cover? My bitch is that over 70% of LATBReviewers are not from the West Coast; and just ask any local author how rare it is for a local to have his/her book reviewed . . . yes, there is a West Coast sensibility, and with publishing decisions made in New York, why do we cater to that power center's views by using reviewers from there as well? It all seems so incestuous, and, in the final analysis, dumb. The Times is clinging to an outmoded concept of being a national paper. But when they're struggling to keep up circulation, and local writers have such difficulties even gaining attention, let alone being reviewed, there's no incentive for local writers and their multitudinous readers to even seek out the LATBR.
Case in point: Ray Bradbury was given a special Pulitzer (paired with John Coltrane) - the NYT had a front page blurb and extended coversage inside. The LATimes?
Zip. Nada. Even when one of our locals gains national and international eminence, he's not even noted by the illiteraterians who "cover" books.
S.L. Stebel
P.S. Glad to know you exist. If it wasn't for the Publishers Lunch posting, I wouldn't have seen you.

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