• Kudos to Turner and Magic

    By T.J. Simers

    I just loved a story in the LA Times newspaper’s sports section Tuesday morning.

    It wasn’t on the first page of sports because there was no story there, just some artist showing off with fake art.

    Nothing on the second page, and a Dodgers’ farm system story on page 3. I believe it’s the third-straight day of minor league Dodgers’ baseball and one day was too much.

    Who cares who the Dodgers might throw into a trade they are not going to make for Ohtani.

    It wasn’t on page 4 because that was all soccer with Kevin Baxter writing from Auckland, New Zealand about a pink-haired Angel City player who dyed her hair black to play for Japan in the World Cup. He wrote a second story about what I don’t know after reading it, but it was soccer.

    That leaves only page 5 in the 5-page sports section, and there it was, a story I wanted to read: “Johnson stresses weight of new ownership role.”

    I might have used “Magic,” in the headline instead of Johnson, but there I go being picky again.

    I like/love reading about Los Angeles icons. Not all that crazy about Magic, the puffed-up team owner, but kudos to the Times’ Broderick Turner (a.k.a. Brad) for tracking Magic down on his yacht in Europe for an update.

    Turner is the voice of authority when it comes to the NBA for the Times. He did a Q&A with Magic, and while Turner had to do a certain amount of sucking up because otherwise he would lose Magic’s cell access, he asked about Magic’s ownership in the NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS and WNBA.

    I’m a horse owner, 1% in Kiddy Up, and I’m not sure beyond the fact it’s just one horse and loose change, that is much different than owning a piece of the Commanders, Lakers, Dodgers, Sparks and the LAFC.

    But again, whatever my questions and doubts for Magic and his input in ownership, they are irrelevant. What matters here is Brad Turner giving newspaper readers something to read.

    Why the Times buried it inside shows more of a disregard for its readers than Magic.

    I used to interview Lasorda, Scully and Wooden every chance I had because they were LA icons. They might say something really interesting and maybe not, but it was Lasorda, Scully and Wooden.

    This is Magic. A breath of fresh (hot) air after all the soccer, minor league baseball and boxing we have been force fed in the Times. Finally, a name we know and always want to know more about.

    I was once involved in a newspaper survey, asking readers what they wanted to read. Shocking, I know.

    Columns graded high, but the highest marks went to any story featuring a well-known sports figure. If it was a story about Fouts or Mickelson or Kobe, the readers couldn’t wait to gobble it up although there was no guarantee of anything new.

    People want to know and read more about the people who have brought them so many thrills in their lives.

    The Times has been more focused on the obscure lately, but then comes along Brad Turner with his phone call to Magic and Times’ readers are winners.

    It should have been the page 1 story rather than buried inside. But congratulations to Turner for not letting that deter him from doing such a great job.

  • City The Kitty, AI like Plaschke’s stuff

    By T.J. Simers

    Laugh or scoff if you like, but City The Kitty has 350,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and how irrelevant are you?

    There will be former copy editors out there huffing and puffing about how stupid a kitty column might be when no one knows the copy editors even exist anymore.

    City is an online freak, who should be hired by the Times, given his popularity and how the Times puts a premium on folks who can generate hits.

    City’s area of expertise is online content, and with 349.345 followers more than I have and twice as many people who read the LA Times, I asked City for advice.

    City, a spokesman dedicated to spreading the awareness about the dangers of declawing, said the Los Angeles Times effort to declaw the sports section and neuter Columnist Bill Plaschke are too much.

    You think I am joking, but with the help of ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence site, City briefed AI and reported what AI had to say about the Times’ new journalism look.

    “As an influential advocate for positive change, City the Kitty reminds us that evolution is essential,” says AI on behalf of City, “but it should never come at the expense of the newspaper’s fundamental principles. The decision to transform the newspaper’s format and reduce its valued writers might be an attempt to cut costs or adapt to changing reader habits. However, it raises concerns about the potential compromise on the quality and depth of reporting.”

    It took eight seconds for AI to figure that out and write a blog on behalf of City, so the Times’ 3 pm deadline is nothing to fear.

    We might soon be reading more AI stories in the Times, but we just won’t know it. I guess if Tyler R. Tynes starts writing more with no concern for deadlines and shorter paragraphs, it would be worth an AI question.

    However, City the Kitty’s artificial intelligence story is too logical for me, too straight forward, too boring and so it might be hard to detect from the other stories in the sports section.

    By the way, City has six toes on each front foot so he grasps things better than most and with that in mind, City with the assistance of AI, suggested the Times diversify content in this new format. I guess AI has its limit of soccer stories.

    That is rule No. 4 on how to improve the LA Times produced by AI — hard to believe the Times’ sports section has three bigger problems.

    AI per City the Kitty advises the Times to “embrace change thoughtfully: Change is inevitable, and newspapers must adapt to evolving readership preferences amid technological advancements.”

    That would suggest listening to the preferences of readers, something the Times has not taken into consideration while ignoring Dodgers’ night games. City also says AI would like the Times to support emerging writers like Tyler R.Tynes. What does AI know? Hard to support an emerging writer who never writes. I guess AI isn’t perfect.

    There’s some debate on who owns City, Lori Shepler, a former photographer at the LA Times saying she does. But who wants to admit they live with a cat who has a bigger Internet presence than they do?

    Shepler is now a self-proclaimed activist, which goes to show you what can happen to a person who has worked for the LA Times. She’s fighting for less lead being emitted from small planes by nearby schools or something like that, and she should win that battle having already convinced AI to be sympathetic to Plaschke’s plight.

    “‘The reduced prominence of the sports section and downsizing esteemed columnist Bill Plaschke have been met with mixed reactions from the public,” said AI in its City blog. “It is crucial to retain the core of talented writers and columnists who contribute to the newspaper’s reputation and credibility.”

    It really shouldn’t take AI to figure that out, but otherwise you might as well just chuck the paper into the nearest litter box.

  • Sports editor owes apology or resignation

    By T.J. Simers

    No one chases awards harder than LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke, so it’s very inspiring when he’s selected the country’s top columnist as he was earlier this year.

    I don’t think folks understand how hard it is to find a dead kid, a catastrophic fire or Olympic amputee every year, but Plaschke does and they somehow pull themselves together to say just the right things to him.

    In other columns, he speaks on behalf of the people of Los Angeles, ordering the Lakers to trade LeBron James, telling Angels’ owner Arte Moreno he must, and that’s must trade Ohtani to the Dodgers and insists the Dodgers’ front office trade for a starting pitcher.

    No one is safer at the LA Times than Plaschke the award winner. When it comes to layoffs, and there will be more of them, Plaschke need not fret. There is always someone getting hurt out there who wants to tell their woe-is-me story.

    Plaschke is No. 1, which tells me the Sports Editor probably will be looking for a job soon, after making him the Page 7 sports columnist. She ripped his heart out, sapped his motivation and it’s obvious watching Around the Horn he’s lost his spark.

    She moved him to page 3 in a five-page sports section on Tuesday, but he belongs on Page 1 of the sports section if he’s the best they got.

    With greatness, though, comes responsibility. Why isn’t he telling the Times it must abandon the changes made in the sports pages of the newspaper.

    If he can tell LeBron to not let the door hit him in the rump, or Angry Arte to ship Ohtani up Highway 5 or try to bully the Dodgers into making a trade, how tough can it be to tell his own newspaper it must change its ways?

    He speaks for the people of L.A., doesn’t he?

    If I were writing a column on Page 2, like I did, I’d be calling out Times’ management. Of course, I was also in court for the past decade trying to defend my way of doing journalism.

    I never had Plaschke’s kind of power or ability to write. So, why isn’t he marching into Editor Kevin Merida’s office to say he’s not going to write anymore if he’s buried inside the newspaper?

    Why doesn’t he talk common sense with Merida? Tell him he’s out in the field and hearing nothing but complaints. Make Merida feel what the people working in sports feel about the newspaper they once loved.

    Winning all those awards as he has, gives Plaschke a booming voice to lead the sports section into the editor’s office and explain how it is all going to crap.

    I know he likes to go insecure at times and tell people he could be next in layoffs, but it sounds just as self-serving ridiculous as when ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said it.

    At this stage of his career, Plaschke should be all about the influence he’s accumulated or what good is it? He should never again appear on Page 7 or Page 3. Sports editor Iliana Romero owes him and everyone else still trying to read the newspaper an apology.

    Four out of the five pages in the sports section Tuesday included soccer stories. Three of the five were exclusively soccer. Plaschke’s ridiculous bullying attempt with Moreno was at least entertaining.

    This new look with super mega-long stories from writers who can’t write and blown-up photos is not working. It’s time to admit the gaffe before the late-night Dodger games really mean something to readers and USC and UCLA play night games.

    Right now Plaschke is playing second fiddle to homeless soccer and blind soccer. To give him the fighting chance once again to be columnist of the year it’s time to make the LA Times a newspaper once again.

  • Total Condemnation

    By T.J. Simers

    A dear old friend emailed outraged about what is happening to the LA Times sports section.

    He was still giddy about the Angels’ amazing, super, dramatic comeback twice to beat the hated Astros Saturday.

    “Not a word about it in the LA Times,” he wrote. “Ohtani started the comeback rally with a massive HR. Maybe you can read about it in the LA Times on Monday.”

    He was so angry, mentioning he has two subscriptions to the Times, one of his own and one for one of his children, and now he’ going to cancel both.”

    He’s dead wrong, of course.

    The Angels won 13-12 in maybe the most exciting game of the year, but the Los Angeles Times doesn’t care. Never has about the Angels. You have seen how the Times covers the Angels and doesn’t cover them on the road,

    Even if the paper had not made so many dreadful changes, dear old friend, a 13-12 classic would not have been enough to get the paper to make an adjustment. They went with giant pictures of Ohtani on two of the paper’s first four days as a magazine because everything in this new-look section doesn’t make sense.

    And they would probably have had Sarah Valenzuela writing about the dramatic game, and that would have sucked the joy right out of the feel-good story.

    She was still writing about Ohtani’s finger bothering him and what happened Friday night in Sunday morning’s newspaper.

    Her only timely writing came in a tweet Saturday night, taking a selfie to show how she almost got nailed by a foul ball in the press box. Very dramatic.

    On this, the one-week anniversary of the Times going into the dumper with a format change, people thought I was kidding when I said they were going to get four-straight days of soccer coverage on the first sports page. Three down and one to go.

    The newspaper has been horrible, lousy and unreadable this week. They ran 26 letters to the editor online, and speaking from previous experience, no matter how bad the reaction to anything they could always muster a couple of positive responses.

    It was 26-0 in describing the Times as an atrocity now online, by the time they made it to the newspaper the editors had cut eight negative letters, making it only 18-for-18 in negative reaction.

    The Times has made it clear it is not going to listen to its subscribers, running the letters and then a “thank you for subscribing” letter from Sports Editor Iliana Romero. I’m not sure if she typed it with one finger, but in other words, we don’t care; we’re going to do what we like.

    I stand amazed at the Times reluctance to make its better writers write, while filling the newspaper with soccer, WNBA and women’s track. Homeless soccer, and three pages of it?

    And where’s Plaschke? Still pouting about becoming the Page 7 columnist? I hope he’s not ill or under suspension like people guessed when I went missing a decade ago,

    We’ve had two Helene Elliott columns two days in a row. Need I say more?

  • 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.

  • Pulitzer Winner Torches His Own Paper

    By T.J. Simers

    Here I’ve been writing about missing box scores and a poor sports presentation only to read the LA Times internally is apparently in self-destruct mode.

    Paul Feldman, an assistant foreign editor for the Times the past 20 years and packing Pulitzer Prize credentials, wrote a scathing letter to Editor Kevin Merida questioning the leadership of the company, which has been circulating through the Times’ newsroom.

    Feldman has been with the Times for 40 years, and says the company’s business plan, “charging subscribers $1 for six months or seemingly doing everything within its power to ignore or hasten the death of its main revenue source, the print newspaper, is not a winning strategy.

    “Given the track record, even in a period of fiscal uncertainty or worse, I’m really unsure why we should believe that the current business leadership of our company has the ability, knowledge or insight to ever make things better.”

    He gets tougher as he proceeds, and keep in mind as former Times’ blogger Steve Dilbeck learned Thursday, there are no refunds to subscriptions cancelled. You have to eat the paper.

    “It seems rather clear that the top editors of this enterprise have very little idea, or, frankly NO clue, how we actually function,” writes Feldman.

    That’s what is being said in the sports department as well, writers openly questioning the veracity and ability of sports editor Iliana Romero. If the intent of the Times is to drive sports reader to the newspaper’s web site why hasn’t the Times done anything to upgrade the web site?

    Feldman’s criticism in questioning the Times’ leadership comes from someone with a lifetime of experience, who pinpoints weaknesses in upper management.

    “Speaking as one of four remaining foreign/national editors, I can report that Kevin (Merida) has met with us once, yes, just once, since he took his job here three years ago and the managing editor he hired has met with us zero times.”

    The lack of accountability has become a way of life at the Times. The No. 2 guy in sports works from his home in Portland, and many of the writers in sports say they have never heard him speak. He appears on Zoom calls but does not speak. He’s offered no direction to date, his best quality the fact he was a friend previously of the sports editor.

    “Another thing we don’t talk much about here,” continues Feldman in his letter, “Because management’s goal is to whack jobs and the union’s focus is to save them, is the quality and focus of our product and the management decisions that have wreaked havoc on our once revered brand.

    “What kind of serious national news operation has no congressional correspondent as the debt limit crisis careened about? And what kind of serious news operation did not assign a reporter to cover the Jan. 6 insurrection until hours after the Capitol was invaded and did no staff follow-ups in subsequent days?

    “Want irony? Our DC photographer, who was actually in the Capitol building at the time and helped provide coverage, apparently received a layoff notice last week.”

    The Times laid off 74 copy editors recently, doing so to sidestep Union rules that would have orchestrated the layoffs based on seniority rather eliminating one overall work title. Layoffs based on seniority would have meant laying off sports culture critic Tyler R. Tynes and Angels’ reporter Sarah Valenzuela.

    I withhold comment.

    Feldman urges editor Merida to show some fight and “develop a cadence” with Times’ owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, “who somehow escapes scrutiny in this mess.

    “We may not be able to accomplish our journalistic mission without adequate funding or revenues. But if we don’t come up with a coherent plan, we are imperiling the hundreds of millions of dollars the doctor initially invested in the Times.”

    Ouch. That’s one way to get a billionaire’s attention.

    “If our mission is simply to find ways to get clicks rather than adequately cover the important news of our times, what does it really matter if we succeed or fail?”

    He then blisters the 24 executives who are on the Times’ mast head signifying their lofty status at the newspaper, suggesting they might be pallbearers at the Times’ funeral.

    “There would be no coffin,” Feldman writes. “But simply a cremation. After all, what burns more quickly and efficiently than newsprint?”

    I emailed Feldman early today to see if he still has a job. Waiting on response.

  • Soon-Shion allowing newspaper to die

    By T.J.Simers

    I am flummoxed.

    I don’t get what the LA Times is doing in sports, or why the owner Patrick Soon-Shiong or the editor Kevin Merida or his executive lieutenants are allowing it.

    There is no reason, and I repeat no reason to make the changes they have made at this time.

    An no reason whatsoever if Soon-Shiong acted as an owner of a newspaper.

    We’ve been told these changes are necessary because the Times will be using presses in Riverside beginning in February.

    It is July, and so we’ve been told the Sports Editor Iliano Romero wants to get readers used to what the newspaper will be like when February comes along.

    “Get used to Garbage” might as well be Romero’s battle cry, four days into this major change and why didn’t Romero line up her very best to deliver the very best? So far, nothing special and she’s in Las Vegas schmoozing with sports editors from aroud the country.

    Given such changes she should have remained in LA overseeing the new look, and maybe the misidentification in Tuesday’s paper of Miguel Vargas in a huge picture would never have happened.

    Merida should have demanded she remain in LA, responding to the calls and emails from angry subscribers.

    How about billionaire Soon-Shiong putting out the money to get the Times its own press; if he took on the responsibility to acquire a treasured icon like the Los Angeles Times, how about not running it into the ground.

    Is Merida really the editor or a sad front to keep the heat off Soon-Shiong? I know he recommended Tyler R. Tynes for the job of culture critic and he’s been an unequivocal bust, but come on, does he need to kill off the entire sports’ product?

    I don’t know, it has the feel of something else. The New York Times disbanded its sports department and has an online entity, the Athletic, now offering sports news. That was shocking to hear, but New York Times sports was never anything all that special.

    It ran a big sports section every Monday, big pictures and long stories and doesn’t that sound familiar, but spotty coverage otherwise. Several columnists won Pulitzers, a large part because they were writing in New York with the heft of the Times behind them.

    This week they are disbanding a department with 35 people. This was a move in the making, a staff left to shrink and now shifting for content to the Athletic, who recently laid off a number of employees.

    The LA Times recently laid off 74 copy editors, and now the lament is the newspaper has to have early deadlines because it doesn’t have enough copy editors. New York Times all over?

    If the LA Times can get rid of the newspaper, it won’t have to pay for newsprint, leasing presses, or pay truck drivers to get the newspapers out.

    So far, they are doing a good job of getting rid of the newspaper. They ignored the Angels for years and this entire season but two of the first four days have been dedicated on the front of sports to showcasing the Angels’ Ohtani.

    I love Bill Shaikin’s work and Dylan Hernandez’s columns, but they went weak-kneed on everyone in Wednesday’s newspaper. Hernandez can speak Japanese and tried, and tried, and tried to get something out of Ohtani on Media Day at the All-Star game.

    At best, it’s a good inside column or one of many front-page sports elements featured in sports as we remember sports. But Romero scheduled it a week ago and informative or not it was going to get the big picture treatment on sports’ most important page.

    News no longer matters in the newspaper.

    Shaikin had a good idea, offering the All-Stars an opportunity to make a recruiting pitch to Ohtani. Shaikin tried and tried and got nowhere, the story inside at best or maybe the better decision not to run it.

    But what’s confounding is the Times’ willingness to irritate the people who are paying for the newspaper.

    They wrote a story online telling readers “How to watch the Home Run Derby,” but then the Times forgot to cover it.

    They offered a staff written story on Mookie Betts and the home run derby from the All-Star game two days after it happened.

    They didn’t have a word in Wednesday’s newspaper about the All Star Game even though the game ended before 9 p.m., which would have allowed the newspaper plenty of time to get it in the paper had they not established the phony 3 p.m. deadline.

    They intentionally frustrated newspaper readers!

    How can Soon-Shiong look at his newspaper or his laboratory associates who still might be reading the newspaper and feel any pride in ownership?

    How can Merida accept the gibberish he is hearing from his sports editor to explain such a lousy sports product?

    And it’s going to get worse, or maybe that’s the plan.

  • Bagger’s Kid is all grown up!

    By T.J Simers

    The 7-Eleven Kid turned 18 on 7-11, the Grocery Store Bagger’s first born, Mary my grandchild who is known by Mackenzie to her family and friends.

    I have an 18-year-old grandchild and I’m still alive.

    I texted her to tease her like I didn’t know you had to be 21, to say: “Now we can go to bars, Vegas and smoke pot together.”

    She replied: “I’ve already been doing that, but I guess I can join you now.”

    Love that kid. We spent many of her 18 years practicing basketball, or going to basketball games or watching video of Michael Jordan or Steph Curry. Her high school team won the 5A state championship a few months ago, and she blew away most 3-point records in the state of Arizona.

    I mention that and she wants to talk Luke Combs.

    When I was writing for the Times I used to write about the Bagger, who met the daughter in frozen foods. At some point I began to urge him to get it on with the daughter so we could have a grandkid. He listened, and I wasn’t surprised.

    Now she’s going to college but will not play basketball because she wants to be a college kid enjoying herself. I’ve always believed the worst thing that can happen to a kid is getting a scholarship and then owing most college days to coaches instead of enjoying maybe some of the best days of their lives.

    I wanted her to go to Notre Dame as our oldest daughter had done, but once she learned Dwyre went there, too, she had second thoughts. Maybe it was just a coincidence, or it was Dwyre.

    She’s a photographer, working in a physical therapy office with an eye on becoming a nurse. Just in time to take care of an aging GP.

    I don’t know how they did it, but the happy-sappy couple who happen to be the Bagger and our youngest daughter did a stupendous job raising her, although I wonder where she learned to be such a wiseacre. I guess my wife had to creep in there somewhere.

    She went through a stage late in life where she did not want to hear my voice, would not answer my texted questions and thought she knew better on almost everything. Like I said, I guess my wife crept in there somewhere.

    Oh, to be 18 again and about to start college. She can do anything, be anything and I wouldn’t suggest being a reporter.

    She’s already a great kid on the cusp of being a great adult and I feel so fortunate to have lived long enough to be a witness to such a treasure. We’re close, but not-so-close that I would ever be seen at a Luke Combs’ concert.

    It’s like the rule I had with all the grandkids growing up: GP doesn’t play. Or go on Disneyland rides. That’s why they have other relatives.

    But talking to Mary on the way to so many basketball practices was magical. Not sure if she ever noticed me slowing down or taking a detour to prolong our time together. She liked me to interview as if she was a big-time athlete; later she would understand when the Times wanted to get rid of me because of the way I interviewed.

    We talked Presidents, Civil War, Taylor Swift and Barbra Streisand. Well, I talked Barbra.

    The first 18 have been wonderful.

    I’m greedy. I want 18 more. And a chance to have similar experiences with her three sisters. I can think of no better goal.

  • Patrick dumps San Diego paper; LA next?

    By T.J. Simers

    It’s about as bad news as you can get in the newspaper business while still employed.

    Alden Capital, a hedge fund based in New York, has bought the San Diego Union-Tribune from LA Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.

    Given recent layoffs and changes, is Patrick getting ready to dump the Times?

    Alden has a well-earned reputation for getting rid of employees and bleeding a newspaper dry.

    If you have a strong stomach and want to read about the complete devastation of the San Diego newspaper before it happens, check out a story in the Atlantic online in Nov. 2021 entitled, “Secretive Hedge Fund Gutting Newsrooms.”

    I know about Alden because I went up against Alden in LA Superior Court. Alden was on the hook for the LA Times legal debt and Alden paid my attorney more than $1 million after nearly 10 years of litigation and three trial victories. They still owe millions in legal costs, which they are appealing. I hope they do well in San Diego.

    But they are also known for not paying their bills, showing up at the papers they own, or having any problem firing successful journalists.

    Alden will now be running the San Diego newspaper, undoubtedly putting an end to the journalism careers of some real pros. Two days after Alden bought the Chicago Tribune, employees were offered buyouts.

    Between 2015 and 2017, Alden owning nearly 200 newspapers, laid off 36% of the workforce. I don’t know up to date numbers because I was in court.

    As for Soon-Shiong, is this the beginning of the end for the LA Times, selling off a piece like the U-T, or a chance to focus on the Times’ property now? He still doesn’t own a press to print the Times, is in negotiations with the newspaper’s union for a new contract and no one seems to be throwing him a parade.

    He has reportedly said he would like to have his daughter, who already works at the newspaper, run the show. The way editor Kevin Merida has fallen down on the job the prevailing opinion inside is he’s just going through the motions. Times for a change in leadership?

    Many of the Times’ employees have feared the day when Patrick runs out of patience or realizes the Times is a money pit, fearing the unknown or Alden more than Patrick.

    I know I regularly pass on my blogs to the laboratory where Patrick works on the cure for cancer to help as much as I can even though he’s registered as a tjpage2.blog follower. I wish he would also work on the cure for dying newspapers in his spare time.

    If improving the newspaper is something that matters to Patrick, I would tell him former sports editor Bill Dwyre is contemplating a move elsewhere. And as messed up as sports is in the Times, Patrick ought to swoop in and try to keep Dwyre here a little longer to steady things.

    As for the near future, you will get a front-page story in the newspaper tomorrow on the number of Black baseball players in the major leagues, tied to MLB’s move to take baseball out of Oakland, which has the largest Black representation city-wise. The story is written by Bill Shaikin, who writes about Dontrelle Willis, and I love Shaikin’s work, but I have a problem with this.

    If the newspaper runs Shaikin’s story as the main piece on the front of sports that will be more than 18 hours after it was posted on the newspaper’s web site. The sports editor is urging newspaper readers to go online and get what they missed, but an 18-hour head start on the newspaper’s showcase story neuters the impact of getting it so bold and big on the front of the sports page a day later. Sports is now dull enough without taking away its daily splash.

    Just my opinion.

  • Times says no box scores, but more soccer

    By T.J. Simers

    First reports have the LA Times taking 300 disgruntled phone calls Sunday after the sports section went magazine style and lost box scores. The sports editor Iliana Romero suggested folks should go to latimes.com to get box scores, but the staff forgot to post them.

    I couldn’t find Sunday’s box scores Monday morning on the website, so this is your new LA Times.

    I’d suggest calling Iliana Romero but she’s on an all-expenses paid junket to Las Vegas where she intends to buy dinner on the Times’ credit card tonight for at least five former Times’ sports executives. That’s probably the equivalent of a salary for a copy editor laid off two weeks ago.

    I’d suggest reaching out to No. 2 in sports, but ever since he was hired he has remained in Portland. I guess he’s afraid of Los Angeles traffic.

    It’s a little surprising the No. 2 hasn’t been invited to Las Vegas for the Associated Press Sports Editor convention; three of the freeloaders dining with Iliana in Vegas tonight were former No. 2s at the Times.

    Maybe they don’t want him networking for a new job. I hear the New York Times has openings.

    The lack of Times’ leadership, of course, goes all the way up to editor Kevin Merida who is allowing all this on his watch.

    The Times has already busted the 3 pm set-in-stone deadline for writers, allowing coverage of the U.S. Women’s Open in Monday’s paper and the drafting of Paul Skenes which both happened after 3.

    However, there was no mention of Skenes, the No. 1 player selected in the MLB Draft, growing up in Lake Forest or going to school at El Toro High School. The Times spelled his name, “PaulSkenes,” in the newspaper; I’m sure family and friends loved that. I think I hear the circulation department’s phone ringing.

    Next week features on soccer players Ali Riley and Alyssa Thompson are planned.

    I just got an update, despite the suggestion that latimes.com will give you everything you can’t get in the newspaper, box scores will not be run online. As far as the Times is concerned, they no longer exist.


    The New York Times is closing down its sports department. They got rid of box scores a long time ago.

    They bought the sports writing site, the “Athletic,” for $550 million and will be using the Athletic’s content to present sports in the newspaper and online. The Athletic publishes more than 100 sports stories a day. The Times says the Athletic has 400 journalists covering 200 professional teams around the world.

    Instant information via social media has doomed newspapers. A 3 pm deadline, which the Times just instituted, drives that point home when subscribers open their newspapers 15 to 16 hours later.

  • So, What Did You Think?

    By T.J. Simers

    My first impressions of new-look Times’ sports section:

    Picture of Ohtani looks great.

    Was this some kind of announcement the newspaper will no longer ignore the Angels, making Ohtani poster child for change? I wonder if they waited for Ohtani to come to LA to take his picture; you know the Times doesn’t travel to Angels’ games.

    Why didn’t they have Japanese-speaking Dylan Hernandez do an exclusive interview with Ohtani to go along with the poster and really kick off the new-look sports section?

    You know this was the best the newspaper had to offer to showcase the new look to make a positive impression. Let’s see how it goes a week from Thursday.

    The number of enhanced and large photos assure the Times’ photographers will win lots of awards.

    The big pictures are nice, but whatever happened to Life magazine and Sports Illustrated, which featured great photos?

    The back-to-back artsy-craftsy photos of players’ shadows on D-5 and D-6, though, probably means the photogs have hit their monthly quota..

    I worry about AI creeping into the Times with all the big photos.

    I’m not surprised Bill Plaschke has become the D-7 columnist.

    Received a tweet from blog follower Jeff Brosnan who said, “For me, all they needed to add in was the box scores page and it would have been fine.” Keep in mind this was just a preview of changes. Starting tomorrow no results will make the paper if submitted after 3. It will be interesting to see how the newspaper covers the playoffs should the Dodgers or Lakers make them. No worries now about the Angels.

    The sports editor wrote a letter saying, “I am honored to continue highlighting the incredible talent of the L.A. Times sports staff.” If she was already highlighting it in the newspaper why make these changes? I looked at the bylines and didn’t notice the assembled incredible talent. The first bylines shown in the new section were that of Dan Woike, Kevin Baxter and Helene Elliott—-same boring hacks.

    She also told subscribers “Our new layout highlights our best, most ambitious sports journalism—distinctive work you cannot find anywhere else.” Well, you can find it online and that’s really what their hope is so they can stop printing the newspaper.

    Taking out box scores and game stories an replacing them with big pictures seems hardly to be “ambitious.”

    The way the sports section was laid out, the top two stories on a Sunday morning were the sports editor’s letter, and letters to the editor.

    They gave you a Dodgers-Angels’ game story Sunday morning, but beginning next week if a game starts after 3 p.m. they will not. As the sports editor wrote in her letter, “You no longer will see box scores, standings and traditional game stories, but those will be replaced by more innovative reporting.” We’ve already seen a peek of that, Sam Farmer writing about Rufus the Hawk from Wimbledon, Baxter writing about a Uganda catcher fielding tires and Tyler R. Tynes focusing on the manager of a Miami nightclub in the Heat’s arena—you know, like the Forum Club.

    They better hope Associated Press keeps writing.

    I don’t see Jorge Castillo’s byline very often, but he did a really good job of research in retelling, “For the Dodgers, to try, try again is worth it for Ohtani.”

    New-look Times has three soccer stories, same as old-look Times most days.

    Wham, bam, I get a second Jorge Castillo story in the same section. Maybe the news the Times is making is, “Castillo Replaces Box Scores.”