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FBLA Exclusive: Industry Professionals React to LAT Changes: “It Sucks”

imagexites.jpgThe list of veteran reporters who are leaving the L.A. Times in the latest round of buyouts and cuts has local music and industry professionals wondering who, exactly, will be reporting on them?

A few music folks have told FBLA that the personnel changes, simple, “suck.” But others have been more philosophical about it, including a publicist with deep roots in the newspaper industry.

Elizabeth Lang, whose family the Fremont News Messenger and the Port Clinton News Herald in Ohio, laments what is to become of entertainment coverage without some of the key veteran reporters this town has come to trust.

More:

Chuck Philips is reason ALONE to read the L.A. Times. That’s appalling.

The key word with Chuck is “investigative.” Not much of that in the newspaper business anymore. Lots of reprinting of press releases and wire stories. In a country where newspaper, radio and t.v. ownership is becoming increasingly monopolized I see a great deal of agenda-setting by a few for the many. That’s not a good thing.

I am a 4th generation in a newspaper family. My Great-grandfather started a family run newspaper in Northwest Ohio that was taken over by my grandfather and then eventually sold to Gannett Corp. under my father’s regime about 25 years ago under the guise that the paper would distribute USA Today in our region and get new printing presses to print a small, outdoors regional magazine. In the beginning, Al Neuharth‘s Gannett was great to our community and all was good.

Five years ago, as my father (Jim Daubel)neared retirement from his position as Managing Editor — the “new” Gannett slowly gutted the paper — firing all the staff and forcing reporters who didn’t even live in our town to “write” for the paper. I broke my father’s heart. Veteran writers, photographers and staffers lost their jobs and once-loved paper was reduced to a shell. My father retired early and now consults for Stars & Stripes.

I myself have gone to the dark side. I’m a publicist. I write the news that reporters simply reprint wholesale from my (albeit clever, and compelling) press releases. There’s no attempt most times to even disguise the fact that they simply reprint my entire release. Great for me as my message gets out just the way I wanted — but when I went to journalism school, that was called plagiarism.

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