another news site who never cared about its commenters kills comments

NPR commentsmy kingdom for a news outlet who would just own up to the fact that they fucking hate their commenters and thats why they are going to do the absolute worst thing to their website and kill the comments section.

once upon a time if you wanted to express yourself to your news outlet you had to write a letter, put it in an envelope and mail it in. only the very few would see their complaint or compliment published in the newspaper or read aloud on tv.

but then the Great Equalizer, the Internet, reared its ugly head and OMG teh Trollz pounced on ridiculous news stories and blog posts and ruined EVERYTHING.

did the newspapers, magazines, and radio stations pay money to Community Managers who knew how to “engage” the readers and steer conversations and referee and ban people and lift people up?

not really.

did the newspaper implement the worst commenting systems they could possibly create or buy – systems clearly written by teenage Russians for pennies on the dollar?

oh you’ve seen Tronc’s commenting system circa 2016?

did NPR, who probably has the smartest, brightest, most college educated audience in all of history hire anyone to show them exactly HOW they could take that priceless audience and figure out what Digg, Reddit, Metafilter, Gothamist, Reason, every serious sports blog and gads Gawker learned long ago: that sometimes the comments are the best part.


all of these comment quitters took their cues from their high school crush, the New York Times, who never wanted online comments to exist in the first place and were quick to remove comments from delicate articles which would attract the most heated discussions. so today they figure if the Gray Lady could do it, then they could – and should – as well. but thats even more bullshit because, again, who is more educated than the regular reader of the Paper of Record?

the catch is: who has a thinner skin than the editors and writers of the NYT who FOR SURE do not want hoards of unwashed desk jockeys telling them that they suck in between bababooeys right beneath their six month feature about the unrest in the Middle East.

too bad, journalists. too fucking bad.

do you think Magic Johnson looked forward to being booed in Boston and NY and Detroit and Chicago after running up and down basketball courts in those tight shorts? After years of working out and watching tape and figuring out defensive schemes? After hours of practice and conditioning, fighting through injuries and mother fucking HIV?

the answer is YES!

Magic Johnson absorbed the boos of tens of thousands at the Garden because Magic Johnson is a G.D professional and he knows that those people are the ones who paid for his many mansions and the best way to shut them up is to fucking rule.

Or in the case of the ultra sensitive journalists: don’t read the damn comments.

Or in the case of the fuckit we didnt want it anyway editors of web sites: learn how to turn those lemons into champagne.

Reddit’s entire world is comments, why can’t you figure it the fuck out?

Answer: because you are lazy and Web 0.2 and hate your commenters and all you really want to do is talk AT your audience, not with them, and you should really just admit it and quit being lying liars.

Tribune changes its name to tronc


as you know i grew up reading the Chicago Tribune

it’s a major reason i wanted to be a writer and go into journalism.

never did i think that i would ever become either of those things, but it happened.

during my time at the Tribune-owned LA Times i had lots of ideas.

most of them were rejected either directly or indirectly by “Chicago” aka Tribune.

little did i know that all i had to say was

yo, you should change the name of the company to tronc.

so the lesson i learned yesterday was

keep being creative, keep pitching ideas, shake off the rejections

one day they’ll say yes

tronc yeah they will

why this headline should say “Uber Driver’s Family Gets $500k”

uber driver

Journalists aren’t the only ones who don’t know how to deal with Uber, cops need help too.

Over the past two years that Uber has been a household word, news stories about Uber Driver This and Uber Driver That get published breathlessly every week in coverage that no other transportation sector attracts.

No matter if the suspected criminal was actually ridesharing at the moment of the crime or not, the word Uber somehow gets popped in the headline.

Unless something good happens, and then it miraculously disappears from the headline and the fact that ridesharing Actually was the reason something happened is the also buried into the tale.

Look no further than this story. An Uber driver was involved in an accident in 2014 in Santa Clara. He had a dashcam. He had the damaged car towed to his cousin’s house and went home with the dashcam.

st. claraTurns out the Uber driver didn’t own the car. The owner of the car showed up to the cousin’s house to look at the car and get the dashcam. When he was told it wasn’t in the house, the owner called the cops, who a few days later searched the house and then much later took a battering ram to the house looking for the camera.

The cousin then sued the cops for super totally overreacting and said they did so because he was Muslim. This week the city settled with the cousin for a half million. $150k going to his lawyers and $350k going to him. Oh yeah, and he works for for the border control for Homeland Security.

So are we to believe that cops went aggro at the residence of, basically, one of their own, because he was Muslim? In Santa Clara, in the heart of Silicon Valley, which is home to many many peaceful and law-abiding Muslims?

No. The cops went aggro because in 2014 Uber was new and unproven. Cops are leery and would die to be one of the first to reveal OMG video of an Uber car getting into a crash. Imagine the potential handwringing!

So they huffed and they puffed and knocked down dude’s door. Who knows what other Uber-related incriminating evidence could be in there?


In Santa Clara? Named after a saint?

Santa Clara’s State Rep is a Democrat who has served since 2007, its State Senator is a Democrat who replaced a previous Democrat who was termed out. Santa Clara’s US Rep is a Democrat who has served for three years who replaced a long time Democrat who had just retired.  I’m not saying a heavily Democratic area can’t have some bad cops…

But I am saying, what is far more likely is even though technically the gentleman had the type of job that would usually shield him from such police aggression, it was probably not because of his religion that the officers were so intensely motivated, it was the evidence they were seeking, namely that it would be negative towards Uber.

And that’s why we need Uber drivers in every newsroom.

Or better yet, journalists to admit that they too overreact when a negative so-called Uber story appears and clam up when a positive one pops up. Or so it seems in their papers and websites.

the starmen, theyre just like us


one of the unexpectedly great parts of working at the times when i did was getting to work with sooo many talented writers and editors.

one of the coolest was the very laid back dean kuipers, who i knew had previously worked at spin, my favorite magazine, but it wasn’t until tonight that i learned that he worked at Raygun, which for a while was the coolest mag in the world.

naturally dean had befriended David Bowie back in the day and the pair were working on an avant garde movie(?!?!) when this fascinating exchange happened, dean writes in today’s times:

On the second day of working together, with no one else in the room, Bowie took a long look at me and said, “Dean, do you think my work is still relevant?”

My heart broke. He worried that his surreal vision was too obscure, his many personae too fragmented. I reassured him that when your art is one of the root references of the present, you are always relevant.

“I wonder,” he said, unconvinced.

so yes, even david bowie, the man we are all remembering fondly, and missing, and fawning over

had real self doubts about the one thing he had been doing beautifully his whole life.

im so grateful dean wrote about this today.

these were the headlines in the paper last week

LA Times headlinespretty dramatic

and definitely the way a certain type of serious newspapers handles a mass shooting.

the new york daily news’ front page has been a little more dramatic, if you can believe it

and the new york times put a damn opinion piece about gun control on their front page.

when i was at the LAT i was surprised at how much they looked toward NY a North Star of journalism.

it actually turned me off. why look at someone else when you know in your heart how to do it.

also, why look East if you’re not going to take what they’re doing to the next level.

if anything it seemed like what the LAT did was do a watered down version of what the east coast papers did,

and whats the value of that?

so as dramatic as these headlines were, they were, in retrospect simply Journalism 101 compared to the advanced studies that the Daily News and NYT.

so that makes me sad.

at some point the LA Times will be punk rock.

that time is not now.

at some point the pain of the violence that has spread this country which includes Isla Vista and San Bernardino will be accurately reflected in the greatest paper west of the Mississippi

and not just be screaming AP headlines in giant point size.

If you’re going to write a scathing editorial deep inside the paper,

is it really that terrible if you seriously go for it on the front page?

This was the most shared image last week among the people i follow on Facebook

NY Daily News

and this is how they followed it up today

NY Daily News

During a time when you’re having a hard time selling newspapers, LAT,

maybe doing the same old same old expecting different results is insane.

last night i saw “Spotlight”

Spotlight the Movie

i was underwhelmed.

it had gotten some good reviews. there were a few good performances.

mark ruffalo was fantastic.

the dude from Mad Men made me miss Mad Men.

other than that there werent that many surprises because we all know what happened.

i didnt think it was shot with much artistry.

i may be its only current critic as it’s getting a whopping 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes

id give it a b- or c+

but the one really good thing about it is it shows how important long form investigative journalism is.

newspapers continue to struggle, so i would be interested to see if television news rooms will pick up the slack and start delivering the type of scoops that newspapers have given us over the years.

i hope so

every now and then i get suckered into being a keynote speaker

me in pajamas

i say this repeatedly but no one believes me because i am a fantastic public speaker, but the truth is i do not like public speaking, i barely like private speaking. i prefer blogging, instant messaging, whispering, texting or Instagram private messaging. but my favorite of all is ESP, which i wish we could master but no one seems interested in.

this weekend, it just dawned on me, i have to go to Orange County to speak to college kids about social media. i am NOT looking forward to it. but i was invited by a college professor who i admire greatly because she is doing the Lord’s work and i’d be a huge jerk if i said no. plus im freaking incredible when i rock the mic.

reactionsthe last time i was in OC talking to the kids, it was for the california college journalism awards. i wore pajamas and a robe and told them that their music was terrible – which is something they probably couldnt affect – but they could do something about their journalism. one suggestion i made to them was to subscribe to the Los Angeles Times. i told them that a subscription costs less than three tanks of gas and if they were sincere about a job in journalism it should be a no brainer to omg have the paper delivered to their home so they can see what will be expected of them when they hit the big time.

the reason i wore pajamas is because when i was in college and we went to the california college journalism awards, we from the Daily Nexus wore dresses. i told them i would have worn a super pretty dress, but the other thing i wanted to impress on them was the topic of Change. i told them that often as we grow up we are resistant to change and even journalists need to always be adjusting to the what is happening out there. so instead of a dress i wore pajamas.

sure it was a little embarrassing and the robe made me sweat more than usual and it made me stand out (something i dont really like at all) but hopefully it proved a point: those who resist change are stupid poo poo heads who are probably in the way.

did the kids like what i had to say? of course. i told you, im incredible when i tell it like it is. but if there was an earthquake saturday morning and the whole thing was canceled id breathe a sigh of relief. there are people here in LA who would die for attention. im not that person. every now and then i have something to say and i want some people to hear it, but im ok if it doesnt go viral. im ok if i never end up on tv. im fine if i never have to do a poetry reading or anything like that. let those who need that spotlight have it.

i just want to whisper in your ear and the message is usually the same: im a fucking idiot and i pulled it off. you can too.

maybe i’ll just wear underwear saturday.



Free Rasool

i have hundreds of friends who are journalists. many of whom, like me, would jump at the chance to be a foreign correspondent, especially if it was dangerous and important and thrilling and made our lives worth living that much more.

about two months ago a young journalist for Vice, Mohammed Rasool, was arrested in Turkey with two other Vice reporters, while filming clashes between Turkish cops and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ party in Diyarbakir.

eventually the Turks released two of the Vice reporters but are keeping Rasool in jail for allegedly aiding a terrorist group. the government wants to look at his encrypted files before deciding whether to go forward with prosecuting him.

journalists dont give up files to nobody. they are ours. not yours. ever. theres the rare exception where, after a story is published, if the source denies that they said something, a journalist may reveal notes or audio or video to prove that the person said what was published.

but you dont get to go on a fishing expedition through the files of any journalist that you want and get to see everything that theyve got in their tape recorder or notebook. if you suspect someone of foul play, and you have proof, then have a speedy, fair trial, otherwise get bent.

Turkey is supposed to be an ally of the U.S. and the U.N. Barack Obama doesn’t mention the Armenian Holocaust solely because he wants to maintain a good relationship with Turkey. when Turkey falsely imprisons journalists for doing their jobs, shit gets fucked.

Turkey knows it did the wrong thing. they’re no dummies. and even though Vice is Canadian, last week the US State Dept told Turkey to cut the shit with Rasool and treat him fairly, but bro is still locked up IN A TURKISH PRISON. a place i wouldn’t want to be and i wouldnt want any of my friends to be in right now.

we can’t have allies like this. there are GOP debates in a week, i seriously doubt that this issue will come up, but i think it would be fantastic if those running for president were asked how they would handle Turkey if they were president right now and our so-called ally was raiding the offices of journalists and clamping down on free expression and freedom of the press.

in the meantime, let’s keep this story in the forefront because Rasool could be me or you or any of our many journalist friends. and if they will do it to journalists they’d do it to anyone.

LA is a city on the planet and the NYT is on it!

terrible tweetheres the problem with the New York Times, they have this foolish desire to cover Los Angeles.

actually that desire isn’t terrible unto it self, but what’s dumb is they take new yorkers and move them to LA and have them write about it AS IF THERE ARE NO ACTUAL LOCALS WHO COULD DO IT BETTER.

case in point, adam nagourney, who is the NYT’s LA bureau chief, who today blocked me on Twitter (?!) because I called him out on his shitty non-story about some new Sunset Strip hotels and his shittier tweet to hype it (above).

the thesis of his far-too-long piece is OMG THEY SHUT DOWN THE HOUSE OF BLUES WHICH JUST HAPPENS TO BE ON THE SUNSET STRIP and guess what, guys, THEYRE BUILDING A LUXURY HOTEL !!!!11!1

anyone who has lived in LA for more than a handful of years knows that the House of Blues was not a go-to club. it was a place you reluctantly went to because Bad Religion or Social D or GWAR was going to play there. Maybe you’d take some out of towners there to see Steel Panther or the Gospel Brunch.

on the raaaaare occasion someone actually good would be there, but for the two dozen or so times that I’ve been there my favorite show was probably when Britney Spears did a 15 minute comeback lipsync secret show there billed as the M+Ms.

at it’s heart, House of Blues was a corporate chain that eventually got bought by the most corporate of all chains, Live Nation, who is a wolf in sheep’s clothing called Ticketmaster.

dudeONLY the NYT would try to make us shed a tear over a mediocre club owned by Ticketmaster being razed to build a high rise hotel.

by the way, none of this has to do with The Doors, who played in LOTS of places in LA a half century ago, and yes one of the venues they rocked was The Whiskey which is a curvy mile away. Big whoop. (also the strip hasnt been “gritty” in decades.)

If a local journalist would have written about it instead of someone who parachuted  in a couple of years ago, it might have been about how a) no one really loved that club anyways b) how after seeing the renovation of the Riot Hyatt into the Andaz across the street from the HOB and the ongoing success of the Mondrian next door or the Standard two blocks away OF COURSE a ticket corporation like Ticketmaster who actually doesn’t care about music would turn their club into a luxury hotel and c) this is more proof that the Sunset Strip is less about music (that trend has been moving east to Echo Park and DTLA since before poor adam moved west) and more about luxe.

instead NY Adam interviews a nearby hotelier who claims the sky is now falling (because omg competition) and the Roxy’s Nic Adler who rightfully says this is a non story. BUT WHY WOULD YOU EVER BELIEVE THE SON OF THE MAN WHO HELPED PUT ROCK ON THE MAP ON THE SUNSET STRIP?!

instead let’s publish another trend piece about LA that people in LA will laugh about because as Curbed LA wrote perfectly earlier this yearNew York Times stories about Los Angeles are amazing because they’re like seeing the city through the eyes of a dorky time traveler from 1992.”

add one more to the list, boys, but be careful, nyc adam might omg block you from the twitters.



Gay Talese explains perfectly why I hate broken links

“I am a record-keeper,” he says in this wonderful short video from Grantland.

“I am someone who cares about the past as much as the future. I don’t think it’s ethical to erase the past.”

I have had the sad fortune of working with some very powerful people who have no respect for what Mr. Talese succinctly laid out. Editors who care very much about writing stories that get temporary traffic, but years later abandon stories and sections and entire blogs and delete them willy-nilly for a variety of foolish reasons.

As journalists, we ARE record-keepers. By being digital journalists we have a new responsibility to be custodians to the past even if that past is merely a few years old.

Thus it is irresponsible to delete blogs, stories, posts and photos.

There should never be a broken link on a professional news site that leads to something else within that news site.

Likewise there should be more, not less, hyperlinks to corroborating evidence. Rarely do I see that in major news sites, and it’s appalling. All these digital editors, web producers, and online publications, and yet we try to pretend that all of the information is conveniently packaged in that one story? Impossible. Link.

And for God sake, don’t change the URL, and if you must, have a solid way to redirect it to where it is now.