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.
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.
Last week, we watched Obama address the great state of California, promising “brighter days ahead.” Tonight, in his second national prime time address, the country still needs to get a grip. We’ll watch online via the ever-trusty and crisp-pictured Hulu player:
For instant analysis of a rather unsubstantive speech with many weak and redundant questions, see the caucus.
As a longtime New Yorker subscriber (that’s right, in print), you’d wonder why I’d bother with the podcasts as well. I can lay any questions to rest here. Each Monday (a few days before the issue lands in my mailbox) there is a lively, informed discussion with New Yorker Web editor Blake Eskin takes place in Out Loud that truly enriches the reading experience — a couple weeks back it was an actual sit-down beer tasting, this week was a personal interview with Zadie Smith, who contributed to the fiction issue.
But the killer, was aurally experiencing Hendrik Hertzberg’s column on Rod Blagojevich in which the narrator practically — blasphemically — acts out the following passage, which is never done justice in bleeps or even unadulterated print:
Blagojevichâ€”who had remarked of the Senate seat, â€œIâ€™ve got this thing and itâ€™s fucking golden, and, uh, uh, Iâ€™m just not giving it up for fuckinâ€™ nothingâ€â€”was not happy when told that no offers were forthcoming from anyone around â€œthis motherfucker,â€ as he referred to the President-elect: â€œFuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.â€
A third great podcast falls haphazardly — it was initially the Campaign Trail and is now titled The Transition. Along with my daily listens (Buzz Out Loud, Rachel Maddow, Slate, etc) these truly awesome podcasts bring serious entertainment and value to my commute. Subscribe in iTunes, Google Reader or your favorite podcatcher via the links at http://www.newyorker.com/services/rss/summary#podcasts.
It’s almost like I don’t miss those New York Times Op-Ed podcasts anymore. Am I the only one who still misses those?