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LA Times to Mash-Up Book Reviews, Op-Ed Sections

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LA Observed’s posts about the LA Times move to combine the stand-alone book review and the op-ed section made the SF Chronicle. Heidi Benson got this quote out of former book review editor, Steve Wasserman:

Despite all the seductions of the “infotainment industrial complex,” more people are reading and buying books, and more bookstores are thriving in Los Angeles, than ever before.

Because publishers aren’t at all part of the infotainment world. Or at least they weren’t on Wasserman’s watch, as Mark Sarvas, of The Elegant Variation, reminds us:

The core problem with Steve Wasserman’s tenure as editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review was writ large in his answer to a question I put to him at the recent Los Angeles Festival of Books. I used the occasion of the “Celebrating the Book Review” panel to inquire about LATBR’s propensity for tedious reviews. Wasserman responded that tedium was in the eye of the beholder, and the piece that he’d been proudest of running was a “6,000 word essay on the Spanish Civil War untethered to any existing book.”

Which might be one reason Wasserman isn’t at the LAT.


Benson also quoted Narda Zacchino, (aka Top Times Gal to those with long memories) as to the “steady drumbeats of complaints” when the Chronicle tried a similiar move in 2001. Of course, the Chronicle worships Wasserman. The Chronicle isn’t known for its news coverage, to put it mildly.

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