LA Times Brand X Blog Goes Live, Just in Time for Coachella

Following up on my [somewhat] harsh post last month, LA Times launched BrandX yesterday. An events blog for the kids. Yawn.

“It’s content sharing on an extremely local level and will bring our great work to an audience that does not currently see it,” explained Times editor Russ Stanton in an all-hands memo.

So far it’s good blog content, written mostly by Carolyn Kellogg, a friend who was once editor of LAist (she also blogs for the Times’ book blog, Jacket Copy). The appearance and presentation could definitely pop more and have more interactivity, especially if Brand X is aimed at the younger set.

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LA Times Announces Brand X Link Farm

ThisisBrandX.com way to go LA Times This is Brand XLaunch early and launch often.

But don’t let the cat out of the bag before you’ve got a basic index page, 404 or… anything but the de facto Register.com-branded ztomy.com-fueled link farm.

So when the LA Times announced a “new product launch” in an all-staff memo this afternoon (thx, Ed) it was disappointing to see that said product was nothing but a Register.com link farm. Not to mention, what the memo describes is merely a repackaging of the short-lived print edition of Metromix along with some “reverse-published” blog posts. Whatever that means. Perhaps it can only be read when held up to a mirror?

Times editor Russ Stanton had this to write about the so-horribly-named-it-makes-me-quiver ThisIsBrandX.com: “It’s content sharing on an extremely local level and will bring our great work to an audience that does not currently see it.”

I feel for my friends at the LA Times who do amazing work in spite of it all. But the news about newspapers these days just gets me depressed. And with a name like Brand X — which implies knock-off, pirated, counterfeit merchandise — I just hope that the bulk of the content isn’t produced in China.

And anyway… THIS is Brand X:

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LA Times $700,000,000,000 Headline



LA Times $700,000,000,000 Headline, originally uploaded by revolute.

They don’t write headlines like this online (or M-Sa, no less) so I’m archiving the screenshot (see also here and the LAT print edition archive)…

But damn if you didn’t spend your last $1.50 after seeing this on the newsstand Sunday I grabbed this image from Newseum.org (PDF). No mushroom cloud (the bombing was in Pakistan but the context is Wall Street) online either, only in the Southern California distributed (and in a few locations in SF) print.Wall Street taken above steam stack road works.

D-R-A-M-A

At least they managed to squeeze in a Palin column beneath the mushroom cloud.

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In an iReport World, Who Can We Trust?

Real or Photoshopped?In the mid-2008 media world, every network, blog, and news website wants to break the big impact story in times of developing news. For hours after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake centered near Chino Hills, ~30 miles from LA, rocked Southern California, all of the major networks and their websites continued carrying the news with a red BREAKING NEWS flag attached. But other than shaking up millions of people and scattering items off of shelves, there was no “news” to break (at least as of 4pm, more than 4 hours after the initial temblor).

The photo above first aired on CNN and was sent in by someone who was supposedly in the supermarket at the time — what CNN terms as an iReporter. Sure, it is very possible that many of the paper goods were shaken to the ground during the 15-20 seconds in which the ground, building, and everything else shook. But how are we to know when to believe whether a photo or video is faked, fabricated, or Photoshopped? CNN’s iReport Terms of Use addresses nothing about photo manipulation or regulations. And, to be fair, it’s not just citizen reporters that purposely fake photos for effect or attention, there are the memorable lessons in photojournalism fakery brought to us by the likes of Reuters, the LA Times and most recently, the Iranian government (and here are more.

Considering the small size and low resolution of the above photo, I won’t venture to investigate the possibility that it was digitally manipulated or whether it’s an honest to goodness eyewitness photo. But below, you’ll see a few surveillance camera or eyewitness camera viewpoint of what is clearly either real footage of the earthquake and it’s after affects, or simply fakes.

REAL:

Surveillance video from Incycle Bicycles store in San Dimas (~12 miles from the epicenter)

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Tony Pierce to the LA Times

Pajamas likely headed to Blogger Hall of Fame

tony pierce will be ditching the pajamas and blogging for spring streetThe blogger and LAist editor who inspired myself (among others) to dedicate much time, passion, and keystrokes to group blogging, is moving on after 17 months at the helm of Gothamist‘s Los Angeles operation.

Myself and Zach Behrens interviewed Pierce soon after he dropped the bomb on LAist staffers last Friday.
Read the whole damn thing here.

The news doesn’t surprise me — Known to some as “The Blogfather,” Tony Pierce worked hard for many years to land this gig. LA Times Interactive under Meredith Artley continues being proactive, taking chances and gaining steam tony pierce in pajamas at LAist party popping a celebratory bottle of champagnetoward staking its claim as the new media beast it should be.
Perfect match.

Pierce worked his ass off for LAist as I imagine he did in previous jobs — always doing it his own unique but successful way. A big fan of city-centric sites since my days with Centerstage, I considered trying to write for Chicagoist and LAist but it wasn’t until I got hooked on Tony’s and his bulked-up, liberated staff’s posts (OK, and also because Tony is an insanely die-hard Cubs fan like myself) — about one year ago — that I gave it a shot.

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