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.