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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?

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