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Posts Tagged ‘Steve Lopez’

LA Times ‘Goal of Civility Is Falling Short’ On Comment Boards

The LA Times‘ struggles to improve the quality of discourse on the comment sections of its stories continued over the weekend. A piece posted online one week ago entitled “Israel fires on pro-Palestinian protesters; 20 reported killed” has drawn over 700 comments so far. But, as of late last week, despite the Times‘ requiring users to leave comments through a Facebook account, trolls still dominated the discussion. Moderators had to intervene, and now all comments on the article will require a moderator’s approval.

From the Times:

Comments on news articles (as opposed to blogs) run through an automated profanity filter, then are posted automatically. The idea, as announced in that 2010 memo, is that the commenting community will police itself, with users being able to report inappropriate comments as abuse. Any comment reported twice will automatically be removed from the site. These hidden comments will be held for review by a small group of Times moderators, who will decide whether to republish the comments or keep them off the site.

More often than not, this works.

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LA Times Columnist Steve Lopez Accepts Honorary Degree

The first honorary doctorate handed out by San Jose State University in 1963 went to John F. Kennedy. Since that time, slightly less than two dozen have been awarded, the latest being LA Times city columnist Steve Lopez on Friday, April 29th.

During his acceptance speech (which you can watch below), Dr. Lopez shared some reminiscences about his days at school newspaper the Spartan Daily and ended with advice aimed specifically at the journalism grads in the audience. “Whoever you’re going after, give them hell,” he advised. “And please, do not try to take my job.”

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Hamilton High Expert Calls Out LAT Columnist Steve Lopez

A few weeks ago, LA Times city columnist Steve Lopez zeroed in on the topic of teacher layoffs at Alexander Hamilton High School, a Beverlywood neighborhood LAUSD school with two magnet components. Today, Big Journalism contributor Alexander Marlow bites back.

It definitely helped in this case that the school sits in Marlow’s boyhood backyard, thus allowing him to easily vet the contents of the March 16th column. His main beef is that Lopez painted too much of a one-sided, positive view of the school’s magnet programs:

Many of [my Music Magnet friends'] experiences didn’t resemble the mythical land of incredible teachers and students anxious to learn that Lopez describes. An anonymous Hamilton graduate told me she recalls students doing cocaine in the state-of the art auditorium…

One of the spectacular teachers Lopez mentions in the article taught an acting class; an anonymous source sums up the class experience this way: “She taught me nothing about acting but a lot about AIDS.” Another teacher mentioned in the article, according to an alum, “pushed an anti-Bush agenda” and openly discussed his alcohol abuse with the students during class time.

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Accused Bell City Official’s New Gig: Parking Lot Attendant

Man, oh man. If you’re looking for the flip side to the recent mostly-feelgood story of Ted Williams, the Columbus, Ohio homeless man who rocketed to fame via YouTube, we’ve got it for you, courtesy of LA Times city columnist Steve Lopez.

After being tipped that Robert “Ratso” Rizzo, the allegedly crooked Bell city administrator on payroll until recently for $800,000 a year, was spotted working as a parking lot attendant at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach, Lopez cruised down to take a look. Sure enough, per the fantastically framed photo below, it’s him (great work, Don Bartletti!).

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KCET’s SoCal Connected Wins duPont Award

What a way to end the year. After scoring a George Foster Peabody Award in June, KCET’s weekly newsmagazine SoCal Connected has landed the equally prestigious broadcast journalism honor of an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

Among the program’s cited reports were a trio about LA’s marijuana mess. “Up in Smoke” looked at legal loopholes being exploited by dispensaries; “Cannabis Cowboys” followed federal agents sniffing out Mexican drug cartel weed patches in California parklands; and “The Doctor is In” proved just how easy it was for LA Times columnist Steve Lopez to get a medical marijuana prescription filled.

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City Columnist Rewrites MTA’s Found Money Policy

It’s amazing what can happen when the person making the phone calls is an LA Times city columnist rather than a sometimes-homeless Vietnam vet.

Steve Lopez recently discovered that 56-year-old native Rex Baker (pictured), after finding $882 in cash on an MTA bus and being told the money could be his after 30 days if it was unclaimed, had been informed that actually the transit agency’s policy is to give any such dollars to local charity. Baker was ready to chalk it up as a hard lesson learned, until Lopez got involved.

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The New York Times Details Tribune Company ‘Frat House’

Wow. Quite a piece by David Carr in the New York Times detailing the transition from the pre-Sam-Zell conservative Tribune Company to what Carr describes as a “frat house.” Carr delves into widespread sexual harassment within the company as well as  obscene executive bonuses that were doled out as management laid off hundreds of journalists throughout the company.

At a time when the media industry has struggled, the debt-ridden Tribune Company has done even worse. Less than a year after Mr. Zell bought the company, it tipped into bankruptcy, listing $7.6 billion in assets against a debt of $13 billion, making it the largest bankruptcy in the history of the American media industry. More than 4,200 people have lost jobs since the purchase, while resources for the Tribune newspapers and television stations have been slashed.

The new management did transform the work culture, however. Based on interviews with more than 20 employees and former employees of Tribune, Mr. Michaels’s and his executives’ use of sexual innuendo, poisonous workplace banter and profane invective shocked and offended people throughout the company. Tribune Tower, the architectural symbol of the staid company, came to resemble a frat house, complete with poker parties, juke boxes and pervasive sex talk.

Bravely, LA Times star columnist Steve Lopez went on record for the piece.

“You have advertising wrapping around sections and being disguised as news and empty desks all around you, and then you read about these ridiculous bonuses and feathering their nests with severances, you want to scream.”

Villaraigosa Beat Out OJ for Worst Angeleno of All Time

Steve Lopez had a poll last week. He wanted to know who the worst Angeleno was and now he doesn’t like the answer:

OK, so here we are in Greater L.A., with its long, dark history of land and water grabs, legendary air pollution, assassins, serial killers and gang kingpins, and according to last week’s Talk Back to Lopez poll, the worst Angeleno of all time is:

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa?

Does anyone out there know any history?

In fairness, he’s an impotent incumbent who’s only accomplishment is getting Mirthala Salinas transferred to Riverside. OJ is in jail, which makes him not an incumbent. The number two on the list was Rep. Henry Waxman, so that should tell you something. People who vote in online polls hate the home team.

Hat tip LA Weekly and photo credit Glitterati

Previously on FBLA:

  • The End of Villaraigosa’s Political Career
  • Breaking: Villaraigosa Announces He Will Not Run for Governor
  • LA Times Editorial On Villaraigosa: Naughty, Naughty, Nada
  • Mirthala Salinas Kinda Sorta Tells Something in LA Magazine

  • Steve Lopez Takes on MJ Memorial

    Steve Lopez seems to think the Michael Jackson Memorial was not our proudest moment.

    He writes:

    I got to Staples Center some time after the parade of Ringling Bros. elephants and just before a bikini-clad woman who held aloft a sign that said, “Go Vegetarian for the Man in the Mirror.” I suppose it goes without saying that not all memorial services draw the same crowd.

    Whole piece is here.

    Steve Lopez to Other Columnists: ‘Leave Your Desks’

    Robert Downey Jr. impersonator Steve Lopez was the keynote speaker Friday at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

    Anne Kallas at Ventura County Star writes:

    Prize-winning columnist Steve Lopez said the work of newspaper columnists has become more important than ever in the wild and wooly frontier of digital communications.

    “Opinions are a dime a dozen all the more reason to get up and leave the desks behind to go out and find stories,” said Lopez, a columnist with the Los Angeles Times.

    Whole piece can be found here.