Over the weekend, New York Times public editor Arthur Brisbane gave the LA Times some mildly-belated props for its recent Pulitzer success. In light of the LAT‘ Pulitzer triumphs, Brisbane also called his own paper’s recent story on the supposed decline of the LAT into account.
Taken together, The Los Angeles Times’s work was in the best journalistic tradition of rooting out hard-to-get stories in places that might otherwise be ignored — coverage, in the immortal adage, that comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.
On top of that, the paper has now won six public service medals, breaking a three-way tie with The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and The New York Times.
The timing of the achievement was interesting given how The Los Angeles Times was portrayed in The New York Times’s article on Jan. 23 — as a newspaper in steep decline with its audience turning away, and indeed the city itself on the bum. When I discussed complaints about that article with New York Times staffers, I was told it wasn’t intended to derogate the other paper but merely to point out that its readers were losing heart. The article did give credit for the Bell coverage, to be fair, but I thought it painted an unflattering picture of general decay.