LA Times Auto Coverage Descends Into Disgrace

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
la times auto coverage descends into disgrace

TTAC commentator Muholland Mike writes… " As an avid reader and sometimes poster on your site I have a follow up to this story [ about the elimination of the LA Times Highway One section, and the banishment to Pulitzer Prize winning auto critic Dan Neil to the Business section]. I opened up my Wed. LA times yesterday morning to find that the Auto section hadn't really gone away, it has just morphed into one of these hideous "special" sections full of crap/pr based stories on some lame ass theme like: "Luxury cars for morons." So it seems that GM and the local LA dealers have won out. Dan Neil is banished to the back of the Friday business section and the advertising department is now in complete control of the "new and improved" Automotive section, Just like every other sell-out newspaper in America." Speaking as TTAC's publisher, I look forward to the day when we can afford to hire Dan Neil.

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  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on Jul 18, 2008

    That's fine, but whether it's $100 or $200, the point remains that it's going to be a long time before you're paying $6,000, or $2,000, or even $1,000. Which is why the ranks of bloggers are presently populated by a few superb writers who have few equals in the print world; a number of "surprisingly good" writers, you might say; and an endless horde of cliche-seeking missiles who can neither spell nor punctuate and consider creative writing to be frequent repetitions of the phrases "ya think?" and "not so good." To coin a phrase, it gets old.

  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Jul 18, 2008

    Ya think?

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jul 19, 2008
    Stephan Wilkinson: The one big problem that still needs to be overcome anent “traditional print media,” whether it’s a newspaper or a magazine, is that they pay rates ranging from a living wage to extremely well. Quite true. The Gannett paper that publishes in Buffalo pays exceptionally well given the local cost of living. They've been cutting headcount, however. Those pay scales are/were based on an advertising / classified / subscription model that is deteriorating and is never coming back. Also, thanks to our wonderful so-called education system, I'd say the populace is less literate now than in 1960. Is the current web a model for replacing local papers? Currently no. But in 10 years? Maybe.

  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on Jul 19, 2008

    So far, there has been enormous resistance--as TTAC can attest--to anybody paying for what is universally considered to be "free content." So I doubt that in 10 years, or even far longer, that will ever be an income stream for websites. So how about advertising as income? Well, I have never so much as noticed an ad on a website (including TTAC) as anything but an annoying distraction, typically with a bopping long-legged silhouette lady or other infuriating graphic. I have never clicked on an advertiser's link or opened a highlighted word, and I don't know anybody who has. I think the ad industry will eventually realize that ads on websites are a waste of everyone's time--users as well as advertisers. My guess is that in a decade, we won't see newsstands with 500 different magazines ("Lizard Lover," "Front-Wheel-Drive Compacts," "Binocular World," etc.) but 50 good ones--the survivors. And maybe there will be a national newspaper survivor or three, rather than two or three in every large city. Print will survive, though special-interest stuff will inevitably migrate to the web, since it is of limited general interest. (Car enthusiasts, for example, comprise at best three percent of drivers. And look at the results of TTAC's own recent "Who Are We?" survey. Fewer than 900 respondents. Even if we imagine that only 10 percent of all relatively frequent TTAC readers bothered to participate, that's an audience of less than 9,000--smaller than my local small-town newspaper's subscriber list.) But the web will not in our lifetimes be a paying proposition--too many people who will provide the content for free.