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Deep Throat Says Times wants Puff Stories

By T.J. Simers

Had lunch with Bill Dwyre, the former sports editor of the Times, when it was regarded as a newspaper.

We were joined by Steve Dilbeck, a former LA Daily News sports columnist, and Deep Throat, who still works at the Los Angeles Times and requires anonimity.

Deep Throat told me to lay off the Times because the newspaper is already dead. He said no one cares, and that includes the LA Times sports staff.

Deep Throat also explained to me “wake and bake” in describing one of the Times’ less-than productive writers, and that explains a lot, because Dwyre, Dilbeck and I had no idea what wake and bake meant.

He/she also provided a primer on why the Times stinks. Deep Throat explained that previous owners sold the presses because they knew the newspaper was going to disappear so there would be no need of presses in time. Just earlier deadlines.

I keep asking Patrick Soon-Shiong to act like a newspaper owner and buy presses; apparently I should be telling him to be a good online newspaper owner. He’s failed there, as well.

Given the changes in the sports section the sports editor should have upgraded the website and used her best writers to excite everyone. But It’s the same old website and she has not put her better writers to work. Odd behavior.

There is only one thing that matters, Deep Throat said, conversions.

Conversions are all about writing interesting stories and within an hour after a story appears online, getting someone to click and subscribe to the LA Times.

This explains why there is less and less criticism mentioned in the Times and almost no negative stories. The Times doesn’t believe negative stories and criticism of local teams sell, so therefore no conversions. The editors want more and more soft stories.

As Deep Throat explained, now every writer spends most of their time trying to figure out what earns conversions. News is no longer a priority.

The sports editor gives every writer a list of conversions each day to embarrass those who have failed to secure any conversions. The sports editor does not like stories that are critical, thereby explaining why the next seven days will be filled with puff pieces, like homeless soccer.

Writers are not criticized for poorly written stories, only stories that fail to get people to click.

Deep Throat started waxing poetic about Ferrari’s and wooden wagons while calling us dinosaurs, and I remember when he made sense, but his conversion to company man is very unsettling.

The reason stories like blind soccer players and homeless soccer players appear on the sports pages I learned is because they hope to emotionally grab folks to subscribe, $1 for six months, knowing once they subscribe they cannot cancel until their contract expires and might forget to do so later. It’s a scam.

I wonder if conversions from paid newspaper subscribers to cancellations count. I’d like to see that number.

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