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LAT vs. WP Pits Brother Against Brother. Or Something Like That.

civilwar.jpgRomenesko has a cute lil back-and-forth between LAT Pentagon correspondent Peter Spiegel and the Washington Post’s Frank Ahrens — two “old friends” who are having a spat about which paper sucks less.

Frank Ahrens is an old friend of mine, so I hate to disagree with him in public, but I feel the need to defend my employer’s honor. I’m not sure where he gets the idea that the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are “the big three” of American newspaper journalism.

According to a story in Feburary by our mutual competitor on Manhattan’s 8th Ave., the Los Angeles Times has the second largest newsroom in the country (870), followed by the Post (800) and the Wall Street Journal (750). Granted, the L.A. Times staffing is headed in the wrong direction, but so is the Post’s (and the NY Times too, for that matter). And I’m pretty sure we still have more foreign correspondents than the Post does, too. So there.

Just because we’re on a different coast doesn’t mean we’re not a serious player in national and international reporting. It was just four years ago that the L.A. Times won what was then the second-largest haul in Pulitzer history: 5 (only to be surpassed by the fine performance by Frank’s colleagues this year). The year before that, we took 3; the year after we took 2.

Granted, we’ve hit a bit of a cold streak. It’s probably my fault, since it seems to have coincided with my employment here at the L.A. Times. But I seem to remember the Post getting blanked last year…while we, burdened by our all our crippling debt, were able to hobble our way to a Pulitzer for explanatory reporting. As the great Pulitzer winner Cicero once said: Cum hoc ergo propter hoc.

To which Ahrens responds:

Peter is right. I absolutely blame him for the decline of the L.A. Times.He is a one-man newspaper wrecking crew. But that’s another thread.

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