LAT hurtles toward the future (watch out for those tar pits)

The LAT has hired eight videographers and bought 65 videocams to beef up its online content and has plans for introducing citizen journalism on some sort of neighborhood pages in the near future. So says Russ Stanton, the latest in a string of editors at the paper and featured speaker at Thursday night’s Zócalo.

While this talk was billed as a discussion of how the LAT is “transforming into a well-integrated web and print product,” Stanton wasn’t all that specific about these innovations. He did say that online traffic to their website is up 30 percent since last year, and, as Seattle PI’s online AME Michelle Nicolosi says below, celebrity “news” and sports are what attract viewers. The LAT’s celebrity photo gallery consistently is in the paper’s top 10 most visited parts of their site.

Audience questions for the 14th editor to helm the paper centered mainly on the issues of citizen journalism (no one wants to subscribe to the paper but they’d sure like a gig producing paid content as freelancers) and diversity. The audience itself is the answer to the latter: White and old. Nearly every hand shot up when asked if they subscribed to the paper. Same for who listens to NPR. We are dinosaurs, hear us roar?

Luke Ford has some video of the Stanton road show from April at the LA Press Club where the editor addressed the free-lancer as blog content producer issue. The idea that the massive layoffs at the nation’s once mighty newspapers represents an opening for free-lancers seems to me to be naive. Think reality shows, folks. We live in a country full of people willing to sing without a key, eat worms, bite their mother’s ears, or , yes, even write, for free.

Update: In response to reader complaints about “obscure” references/attempts at humor in this post:

  • Off key= bad singing; no key= American Idol

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