Jay Rosen posted a tweet a few hours ago with a link to the LAObserved.com article “’California’ or ‘Business’?” by Kevin Roderick, in which Roderick expresses his utter disbelief at the insanity of the Los Angeles Times’ decision to get rid of its local news section. Rosen calls the move an “odd decision,” but Roderick all-out pans the decision:
Los Angeles Times staffers were told Friday by resigned editors that publisher Eddy Hartenstein realized there would be a sizable public backlash against his decision to kill the local news section, but that he felt getting rid of the Business section instead — as all top editors reportedly advised, even the current and last two Business editors — would harm the paper’s stature. It seems a tone-deaf stance by Hartenstein, given how little actual news the Business section offers most days. Call me crazy, but this was probably not the smartest Sunday to show upset readers how much the Business section has withered compared to its past award-winning years.
Roderick goes on to describe the main story in the business section on Sunday, “Eight great three-hour dates on a $25 budget.” Roderick seems to imply, and I agree, that this is a laughable article considering the dreadful state of the economy. Wouldn’t it be wiser to get rid of the business section, and incorporate especially interesting business stories into the local news section?
As Chris Anderson explains in his book The Long Tail, the era of niches has officially begun, and one of these niches is local interests. Why can’t the Los Angeles Times understand how utterly important it is to keep the local news section?