Southland Sessions

Southland Sessions

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (UK)

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Key Art of "Summer of Rockets" featuring Keeley Hawes and Toby Stephens.

Summer of Rockets

Start watching
Line of Separation Key Art.

Line of Separation

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Death in Paradise Series 10

Death in Paradise

Start watching
millionaire still

KCET Must See Movies

Start watching
Independent Lens

Independent Lens

Start watching
MJ250sC-show-poster2x3-Bflky7i.png

Tending Nature

Start watching
Earth Focus

Earth Focus

Start watching
City Rising

City Rising

Start watching
Lost LA

Lost LA

Start watching
Member
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

End Times at the L.A. Times?

Support Provided By
times

It's long been a general L.A. media axiom that The Los Angeles Times' best days were behind it, but, as Edward James Olmos tells Harrison Ford at the end of Blade Runner: "It's too bad she won't live... But then again, who does?" The Times' decline may have been unduly hastened by poor corporate governance (that would be a link to the Wikipedia page for Sam Zell you're hovering over there), but the paper is also just another casualty of the larger structural realignment that is afflicting the profits and readerships of print media worldwide. That layoff bell you hear emanating from Downtown, humble writer/editor/journo/reporter? Wait long enough and it may start tolling for thee.

The interconnectedness of our fortunes (or at least of our Facebook friends and Google+ circles) may be why the cuts were not even done before initial reports about them began to appear at LA Observed, Fishbowl LA and Publishers Weekly, the personal blog of summer-vacationer Tony Pierce. Fired books columnist Susan Salter Reynolds weighed in on her own situation via the PW comments, where SGV Valley News Group theater columnist Frances Baum Nicholson joined the consensus lament over the general state of arts and literary coverage in the region:

comments.jpg

(Los Angeles may be the "Entertainment Capital of the World," but apparently the strain of this achievement has left us unable to claim "Arts Journalism Capital" as well.)

For those of us in public media, the woes of our commercial cousins (kissing cousins, really; the membrane that separates our demimondes has never been particularly impermeable to individual journalists) provide both a neverending wake-up call and reaffirmation of our mission. It's not a state secret that the basic pitch public media makes to the audience is that it will provide media that the for-profit system either can't or won't. An initiative like KCET's SoCal Connected exists (and, if awards are any tally, thrives) against the backdrop of dismal accountings of local TV news coverage like the Normal Lear's Center's periodic surveys. Similarly, the mere existence our recently announced ARC arts project (funded in part by the L.A. County Arts Commission and involving potential partners such as USC's Annenberg School) implies not-so-subtly that there is important cultural reporting falling through the cracks of existing media. (For the record, the irony of the preceding link to the LAT does not escape me.) Overall, though, public media hasn't the resources, scope or leeway to do all things the thriving commercial press once did, making the loss of talented, seasoned reporters at institutions like the Los Angeles Times an often irrevocable one. We may not be physically living in the dystopia depicted in Ridley Scott's iconic vision of Los Angeles, but media-wise we may already be there.

Here's that Blade Runner clip, btw:

Support Provided By
Read More
Farmworkers who harvest and pack bell peppers in the Coachella Valley listen to Montserrat Gomez explain the benefits of the covid vaccines.

Dispelling Vaccine Misinformation and Myths in California’s Breadbasket

Even though farmworkers are vulnerable the coronavirus, many hesitate to get the vaccine, worried the shot could have severe side effects or signal their whereabouts to immigration officials. Immigrant advocates in the Coachella Valley and other farming regions are visiting workers to try to allay their fears.
Trish Tanenbaum receives her first COVID-19 vaccination at Dodger Stadium on January 30, 2021.

Shortage to Close L.A. City Vaccine Super Sites

The mayor lamented the closure as an “enormous hurdle.” But vaccinations aren't completely stopping.
Faith leaders, activists and family members hold a public memorial in front of the Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in San Francisco to honor 17 people who died of COVID-19 while in prison or ICE detention. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Image

Health Over Punishment: Organizing Efforts to Stop ICE Transfers in California and Beyond

Public health workers and grassroots organizers are intentionally building collective power across issues and communities for health equity.