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Posts Tagged ‘Otis Chandler’

Edwin O. Guthman, 89

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From Elaine Woo‘s obit today:

Edwin O. Guthman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist and editor whose aggressive pursuit of Watergate stories during the 1970s earned him the enmity of President Nixon and the No. 3 spot on Nixon’s infamous enemies list, has died. He was 89.

(Snip)

Guthman, who was also a longtime USC professor and a founding member of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, earned a Pulitzer early in his career for proving the innocence of a victim of McCarthyism. During a brief hiatus from journalism, he worked for Robert F. Kennedy as a Justice Department spokesman and became a Kennedy confidant.

He went on to serve as national editor of the Los Angeles Times from 1965 to 1977, a crucial period during which the newspaper expanded its journalistic mission and shed its parochial image. David Halberstam, in “The Powers That Be,” wrote that Guthman gave the paper “instant prestige” and played an important role in its transformation under Publisher Otis Chandler.

A decorated World War II veteran, Guthman was profiled in the bestselling 1998 book “The Greatest Generation,” by former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, who wrote: “In any accounting of the good guys of American journalism, Ed Guthman is on the front page.”

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From Our Tip Jar

times0308 (Small).pngSomeone was mighty unhappy with one of our LAT postings this morning.

In response to a critique of the ailing local paper, one anonymous reader wrote:

Nice of you to kick the LA Times while it’s down. Why is it that FishbowlDC is so over-the-top in love with the Washington Post (to the point of posting WP birth announcements and every two-bit award they win), while you’re constantly complaining that a newspaper for the 2nd largest city in the country has the audacity to have national ambitions? Do you not care about Iraq? The presidential campaign? You live in Los Angeles, not Des Moines, for crissakes. Can you imagine New Yorkers (or Washingtonians for that matter) complaining that their local paper spends too much time covering the world? Only in LA, I guess. And by the way, get your history right. The pre-Otis Chandler LAT was not a “popular local rag”. It was a red-baiting, bitterly partisan rag that help the Chanlder family earn millions on ethically questionable land deals and blindly praised any anti-Communist Republican in its news pages. Read any bio of Richard Nixon and you’ll find out which newspaper made him into a national figure.

Will the LA Times Delete All the Old Staffers?

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Of the big list of staffers eligible for the buyout at the LA Times, only a handful (under 10) are over 60. The powers that be might think long and hard before booting the seniors.

Lewis Segal, the dance critic, is going. Sasha Anawalt writes:

In a city where dance riddles the inner sanctums of churches, temples, community centers, clubs, gymnasiums and zocalos, to say nothing of the nearly 280 legit performance spaces in mainstream theaters, large, mid-sized and small–his signals a gigantic disconnect between the people and press.

But Segal didn’t write much about dance as something people do, but rather as something people watch others do. His last piece about Dancing with the Stars was in 2006, which suggests that his editors weren’t comfortable with either his expertise or his views (which is dumb, because he liked the show.) Why wasn’t he writing about dance in movies–like Hairspray or High School Musical? Was he being deliberately marginalized?

To extrapolate from Anawalt’s post, the disconnect between the paper and the public started back when Otis Chandler wanted to be head of an important national paper, not a popular local rag. Thus, the importation of writers and editors from Back East.

Once upon a time, the LAT had half-a-dozen lively columnists (proto-bloggers) who were read, quoted, raged against, and laughed at (and not just Jack Smith). With the possible exceptions of Al Martinez, Steve Lopez and maybe Chris Erskine, is there anyone that readers feel a connection? Is there anyone at the paper who’s really connected to Los Angeles as a real place, not the fantasy version with good public transport, clean air, and free vegan lunch trucks?