Time to Reinvent the Local Media?

It can’t be easy to be James Rainey, the L.A. Times meta/media-critic, who writes from the bunker on Spring Street. Today at USC Annenberg he said that despite the fact that the Times covers hardly any of the 88 cities in the county, the news in L.A. just doesn’t happen without the Times, as everyone, bloggers included just rip and read. Surprisingly — nobody stepped up to disagree to this demonstrably wrong sentiment.

A couple people defended mentioning LAObserved, one said a bunch of the hyperlocal blogs such as Gothamist (or LAist, to which I’m a contributor) as offering fresh and uncribbed content.

The nugget was his offbeat comment that the inside word from a Times researcher — not a scare tactic — is that in 3 years the newspaper’s profit would sink to ZERO. This cynicism from an actual staff writer on media? I guess the Internet really is killing newspapers then, or something, eh?

Rainey added that it’s regretful that the Times is pressured to appease Wall Street and therefore can only focus on short-term fixes as opposed to advanced content development and dedicated Web innovation. But this says nothing about how they blew a chance for major traffic this week when they mis-posted the Schwarzenegger audio (their Political Muscle blog was quick with the transcripts, but good luck finding the 20 or so blogs via the latimes.com homepage), or why when I check LAT on my cellphone in the middle of the night it still says USC leads UCLA at half when the game has been over for hours. Where’s the “quick fix” there?

Where’s some non-corporate skepticism from the likes of a Tim Rutten when you need it, as opposed to the extended bullhorn of the man — complacent in supposedly being the only real news source in town.

Elsewhere in broke and struggling Tribune Company news: Q4 Profits up 80% on same quarter last year. Fools. I don’t get it. Let’s take over!

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