being praised by Henry Fuhrmann is better than winning a Pulitzer

Henry has seen it all in his decades at the LA Times. He worked in various offices around LA and saw it all from the inside out.

If he had not embraced The Web the way he had, there would have been no way our success would have happened.

I knew I was in trouble when I landed at KPCC and asked where the copy editors were. As Henry tweeted, when I was first at the LAT there were 100 of them. At KPCC there were zero. That never changed. Finances. They considered it a luxury.

When you drive your car do you consider your brakes a luxury?

The man who would successfully push me out at the Times also didn’t believe in the copy desk. He created a blog that would publish first and have copy come in afterwards. I said why would you do that? He said he wanted to be at the cutting edge of Google Trends. I said great you get your headline on the top of Google News and what’s gonna happen when people click and it’s a mess? He said, no one will notice.

But that’s the funny thing about big time digital news from a big time news org: they notice the errors way more than the successes.

I am glad that guy is no longer in my universe.

Likewise, I feel blessed that Henry even knows my name.

one day sass brought over her super hot friend candis

me candis and sass

i was the blog editor of the times at the time and i was trying my best to get one of our movie blogs on the map.

it was written by this excellent reporter who traveled around and got these great stories

but he wasnt a critic, he wrote about movie news, which was fine, and he’d write a few features. good features. but the web was yawning.

i was starting to learn that unless a movie blog was something super dooper special and unique like The Hero Complex

it was gonna be a struggle to get it happening.

so i thought of this great idea, i was gonna dress up in costume every week and go to the movies

and invite all of our readers to come with us and afterwards we would interview the readers

and ask them what they thought of the movie

and we would put their videos up a couple days later

and we would call the whole thing The LA Times Movie Club

well of course everyone jumped on board because it was a brilliant idea and i was making good money

so i didnt even expense the costumes or the wigs or the makeup or even the movies

and omg the entertainment editors came up to me and shook my hand and said

“tony god bless you. there are so many lonely people out there and you have

given them a way to see movies with other strangers and our fine paper. you’re amazing!”

so one day i was almost ready to go to the movies. it was robin hood. the remake with kevin costner.

and sass was in the neighborhood and she wanted to introduce me to her friend

and i was all, who cares, fine. i’ll say hi.

and in walks sass who always looks spectacular and who is this wearing a child’s tshirt as a dress

but candis marie from the east side and i was all, trust me i dont always dress like an elf.

she was all, nice tights.

and we took the picture of our shoes because rarely do i have cool shoes on.

why doesnt the LA Times run Bloom County on Sundays?

bloom county

Who cares how much it costs.

Could it cost more than Jonah Goldberg?

Who better to get people to buy Sunday subscriptions?

Seriously name 5 people currently not in the Sunday LA Times weekly who would get over 10,000 people to start subscribing immediately.

Here’s my five

The aforementioned Bloom County

Matt Groening’s Life In Hell

Bill Maher

Louis C.K.

Taylor Swift

And of those five only Bloom County is doing something weekly right now that would easily fit into the paper.

five years ago michael jackson died

michael jacksoni was in the newsroom of the LA Times

for a moment the buzz on twitter was do not click on any link about Michael Jackson because its a virus.

people were saying that because everyones websites were going down

because the buzz everywhere was that he was dead.

even our website went down for a painfully long 53 seconds or so.

when we looked up on the tv we saw that CNN had a scroll that said unconfirmed reports were that Jackson had died at UCLA hospital but the LA Times had yet to confirm.

at the time CNN was owned by the same company that owned TMZ and TMZ decided to go out on a limb and say without any evidence or names on the record that he was dead.

so instead of CNN saying TMZ had confirmed, they did the right thing and said we Hadnt confirmed.

thus everyone went to our site and kept hitting refresh.

no one wanted him to be dead.

some of our reporters had recently been to his rehearsals or talked to people about his upcoming tour.

no one wanted him to be dead.

then of course the reporter at the hospital called into the metro desk.

and all of this, by the way was a huge buzz and then very quiet.

not quiet because we were all sad but quiet because thats how the paper was when it was running on all cylinders: it was smooth and professional and in overdrive.

and geoff boucher wrote a fantastic obit in a very short period of time with the help of elaine woo.

and harriet ryan and andrew blankstein and richard winton wrote their stories.

and chris lee.

and it was a very numbing afternoon into night.

shocking.

painful.

and then over.

best LA Times Shareline ever

dov charney LA Times

one of the smartest things about the new LA Times redesign is Sharelines.

most websites have one suggested twitter headline that’s usually a dull version of the original web hed

but one of the new duties (I imagine) for LAT web producers is to think of three alternative headlines that would work best on Twitter to encourage retweets and clickthrus.

these three on today’s story about recently booted always entertaining American Apparel CEO Dov Charney show how different suggested tweets would fit three different types of readers.

that last one tho: instant classic.

today i am a freelance journalist, xtx

nokia

its hard to believe that two of the oldest and sexiest LA bloggers are unemployed this summer

but xTx and i are making do with this perfect weather and more time to spend with our families.

in a perfect world that Amazon CEO who bought the Washington Post would buy the LA Times, Chicago Trib

and hire me to corral 100 news and not-news blogs and put together a

content strategy

for his ipad killer, the amazon kindle, so people would have a wide and varied collection of

interesting words pictures and videos right there on their tablet.

and heart.

thats why you buy the Post with 1% of your net worth, right, so it can provide news to your customers

all around the globe, via your (relatively) inexpensive handheld device. right?

well why stop at just one east coast paper, why not get a midwestern and a westwestern paper

and then a blog meister to fill in the gaps.

in the meantime im freelancing when and where i can. today it was for cnbc.

they asked me to put together a slide show and interview companies about their logos.

so i politely agreed and whoop there it is

when I started at the LAT

One of the people I was dying to meet was Bob Pool

20130531-170214.jpg

They say be careful meeting your heroes cuz they’re bound to let you down

But Bob exceeded my expectations

Telling me takes of a pre 9/11 LATimes

That had no security

So politicians and business leaders

Would storm into the building to track down a journo

To yell or attempt to influence them

With booze or blondes or brawn.

He said it never worked.

I’m glad he doesn’t have the twitter

He has way more followers in print.

three years ago today michael jackson died

Michael Jacksoneveryones talking about this new aaron sorkin tv show on hbo

which if you havent seen it is called The Newsroom about the goings on at a place like CNN.

three years ago today at the LA Times, the newsroom was nothing like what sorkins show displayed.

theres drama in any office, be it a startup of 6 people

or a huge corporation of thousands.

but that day the paper ran so smooth.

everyone knew their role, and everyone achieved it perfectly.

geoff boucher only had a few hours to write the front page obit and knocked it out of the park

harriet ryan andrew blankstein chris lee and scott gold fitting all the entertainment, history, medical, and news elements together

the blogging, the editing, the home page designs

and everything just went into overdrive so quickly that it was like this machine that was finally able to

push it,

and when it responded it gave out this flawless hum.

he was rushed to the hospital at 2pm afternoon, just a few hours before print’s deadline and you wouldnt have known it when you read the paper.

i know tv is about drama and sorkin likes to have every person give out all these poetic speeches

like every other second

but what i remember most from an actual newsroom on a huge news day where, CNN (speaking of them) on its crawl, waited for the LAT to confirm the death – thus everyone online came rushing to our site, crippling it for minutes,

was how quiet and focused everyone was.

i guess that doesnt play too well on the boob tube.

totally thrilled to be working with Tami, formerly of the LA Times

tami

Tami and I worked together for a few years at the paper. Heres the letter I wrote yesterday to the staff:

It is my great pleasure to welcome my former Los Angeles Times colleague Tami Abdollah to KPCC as our new Education blogger.

Tami is native Angeleno and an excellent product of California public school system. A graduate of Beverly Hills High and UC Berkley, the only formal schooling that she had outside of the Golden State was a brief stint at The Sorbonne.

Tami was staff writer for the Los Angeles Times for three years, covering a wide variety of topics, but she left the paper in late 2009 when she saw an opportunity to be a Reporting Officer in Baghdad, Iraq. She worked in Baghdad for almost a year until she returned to LA, but first she spent a short stint in New Zealand writing about some trapped miners there.

Besides the Times, Tami has freelanced for The Wall Street Journal (while in Belgium and France), The Daily Beast, and also worked for a short while in Oregon at The Associated Press.

When she was a student at UC Berkeley, Tami wrote for the independent student newspaper, The Daily Californian, and covered the Berkeley Unified School District. She graduated Summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholar, and an IBM Thomas J. Watson Scholar. She wrote her Honors thesis on medieval Merlin. So be careful if you think you can cast a spell on her.

Seemingly always active and always trying to help, Tami has participated in post-Katrina relief work rebuilding roofs in Biloxi, Mississippi a few months after the hurricane hit. She helped rebuild Indian reservation areas destroyed by flooding in New Mexico. And she interned in a psychiatric ward for adults and geriatrics.

She enjoys rock climbing, cycling, skiing, and martial arts. She studied piano for 14 years and received the highest scores and honors in the music and theory exam by the Music Teachers Association of California and Trinity College of London.

But education is where she feels the nexus of where her talents as a journalist meet.

“Probably no other beat is as much an intersection of areas as education,” Tami wrote while applying for this position. “It affects everything and everyone. With unemployment rates at their current levels and job prospects for college graduates at continuing lows, there are some critical questions that must be answered within the education world today. If college is not necessarily the most useful destination for young people now, how do teaching methods and goals need to change? How are students reacting to these changes, and what are their thoughts about the future? That is just one of the many issues I hope I have the opportunity to examine as an education reporter at KPCC.”

Tami speaks French as well as Hebrew (reading, writing, shuk conversation), Farsi (reading, writing and basic conversation), and Arabic (reading, writing, beginning conversation). For fun she is also familiar with Mandarin, Spanish, and Japanese.

It may be dull to her, but here we prefer she writes in English for the time being.

Please join me in welcoming her tomorrow.

Tony Pierce
Blog Editor

And then Fishbowl LA was nice enough to write up her hiring too. Great day all around.