Tuesday, May 20, 2008

LA Times' Hard-Hitting Journalism Redesigned For Modern Attention Spans

Today's LA Times Sports Section has a 96-point font banner-headline, loudly trumpeting, Can they save their sports?"

An interesting lead, right? And full-color pictures of Sidney Crosby, Candace Parker, and Big Brown kick off separate pieces on whether the declines in interest of hockey, women's basketball, and horse racing can be reversed through the coming of electric personalities such as the ones pictured.

Even better, the LAT has brought in the big guns--respected sports columnists of the paper--to opine about the situations confronting the new stars in each of three sports: Helene Elliott on Crosby; Kurt Streeter on Parker; and Bill Dwyre on Big Brown. And, they've got David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at USC, to weigh in as well.

So sit down, fearless reader! Here comes an insightful set of articles about a thought-provoking issue, right? I mean, it's got #1 article placement, color pictures, big-shot columnists, and a super-big headline usually reserved for stories like "War Is Over" or "Man Lands On Moon". This has going to be good. Better get comfortable!

But wait! Each "article" is actually only three paragraphs long. And the supporting commentary from Carter? One paragraph.

Seriously, go read it yourself. I can wait all of two minutes.

This has got to be a new low even for the LA Times, in its continuing efforts to replicate USA Today. What, the four column-inch, banner advertisement at the bottom of the page has truncated the opinions of each columnist? Or the interview with Carter ran really, really short?

For those of you that can't stomach reading all of four paragraphs each, here's the cliff notes version of the cliff notes "articles": No. Yes. No.

Bill Plaschke would be proud.

All the rest of us weep.


Jon Weisman said...

I had the same reaction, except for the weeping. I was just surprised the articles didn't jump.

Steve Sax said...

So was I; I even checked the interior pages to see if someone had inadvertently left off the jump information on the front page. Given it was only twelve paragraphs in length, shouldn't this belong in the Page 2 section? Or even below the loathsome "Between the Lines" column?

Steve Sax said...

And point taken, btw. I'm pretty quick to weep. You should see me after doing the jumble.

Eric Karros said...

While some, including myself, have been known to mock USA Today, they know what they're doing. One day newspapers will be replaced by a page or two of simple but colorful graphs with which you'll be lucky to get a one-sentence caption or title.

I can't wait.

Steve Sax said...

I think I saw that graph in the corner of a USA Today page the other day:

Things for which Eric Karros can't wait:

- newspapers replaced by simple color graphs
- permanent typeracer rooms for competitions
- the Dodgers to win another World Championship
- knee replacement surgery so he can pick up the occasional ground ball
- warm doughnuts
- an end to the "recent comments" section on the sidebar
- jermaine stewart's comeback tour
- peace in the middle east
- more gnome pictures

Orel said...

You just gave away the answers to the next SoSG Pop Quiz!

Eric Karros said...

Coming soon: a "Nine Things" label

karina said...

Eric, in my city we have a "newspaper" with colorful graphs and pictures, complemented by one line captions or titles. If lucky, you get a couple of paragraphs, unless you read the show business gossip, it's kinda long.

In the middle of it, you get a girl with a bikini. It's awful.

karina said...

should i retire the gnome picture?

p.s: i'm willing to typerace anytime!

Eric Karros said...

Karina, I've seen newspapers before with photos of girls in bikinis, but nothing like that. Depending on the paper's circulation, that could be a lot of girls they'd have to stuff in the paper and deliver.

Seriously though, the bikini-clad girl in the middle of the paper is an extension of the strategy of using an attractive person to recite the news on TV.

Steve Sax said...

Karina, it's hard for me to judge how this girl-in-bikini tactic works, just by your description. Could you post an example, for education purposes only?

Orel said...

I misread that as girl-in-bikini-tastic!

Eric Karros said...

Actually, I think Sax mistyped it.

karina said...

hehe, i will have to buy that newspaper and scan the girls, btw, do you have dauly sports newspapers in America? if you do, they also put photos of girls in bikini?