LA Times Kills Auto Section (Forced Relocation for Dan Neil)

Justin Berkowitz
by Justin Berkowitz
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la times kills auto section forced relocation for dan neil

According to an editor's note in yesterday's LA Times, the Autos section, Highway 1, is no more. The likely reasons? The LA Times is having a hard time making money. Subscriptions and circulation are down, paper, ink, and distribution costs are way up. This is true for most print newspapers, and something's gotta go. Why they picked autos, I don't know, since the biggest part of the budget is Dan Neil's salary. And that will stay put as he moves over to the business section for his charming reviews (he hits the Alfa MiTo this week). The bulk of the rest of the section is advertisements, and I'm fairly certain the LA Times gets paid for those. Still, this was an accounting department decision, so we can be sure the math added up. For a city like LA, so steeped in car culture, this is a sad development. And yet not at all surprising. Kevin Roderick over at LA Observed thinks Home, Real Estate, Books, and Food are lined up for the guillotine, also. Meanwhile, Crain's Detroit Business reports that it's only a matter of time before The Detroit News sends its cheerleaders packing. "Dwindling circulation, plummeting retail and classified advertising sales and the tribulations of metro Detroit's economy make this two-newspaper town an 'anomaly,' said Rem Rieder, editor and senior vice president of the American Journalism Review." How ironic is that?

Justin Berkowitz
Justin Berkowitz

Immensely bored law student. I've also got 3 dogs.

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4 of 27 comments
  • Theflyersfan Theflyersfan on Jul 10, 2008

    As a former (and still at times, I wish current) Los Angeles resident, I can say that it was due to Highway 1 that I first found out about TTAC years ago (I think the first review I ever read was RF's review of the original Euro-Elise and I've wanted one ever since.) It was during the whole LA Times vs General Motors/Pontiac G6 love-fest and it was refreshing to have someone in an ad-based industry actually call out a huge ad money maker about the junk they produced. I guess that helped the downward spiral. The only paper newspaper car sections I've continued to read were Dan Neil's columns and LA is now worse off with their papers with this happening. Fine. Let the rest of the papers continue their press release reviews and fluff junk about how the Saturn Ion was the best car to save GM and so on. Maybe we can get Neil to write a column or two for TTAC...I think it would be a nice touch to a site where people from across the Pond, sales people, auto workers, auto fans, racers, R8 owners, and expert writers all contribute. Couldn't resist the R8 thing...

  • BKW BKW on Jul 10, 2008

    The original Highway 1 section was at least 10 pages long and contained all sorts of auto related stuff including a weekly history quiz that awarded a prize for the first correct answers. The prize was a plastic drinking mug emblazoned with the Highway 1 logo. It wasn't too long after introduction that the Times killed off most of the features including the history quiz (my wife said they prolly killed it off because I won all the mugs (not quite true). Sometime last year, Dan Neil in his weekly road test feature, panned the Pontiac G6 saying it wasn't a very good car. GM retaliated by pulling all their Corporate ads from the newspaper for several months. Typical GM = ppl said GM doing that scheiss was like cutting off their nose to spite their face! The San Gabriel Tribune has a Saturday section called Motorway which features a semi-humorous column by Click and Clack, all sorts of upcoming events, other auto related stories (one has to read thru the whole shittery to find them) and one road test of a new vehicle on page one. Also on page one is a related story inre to the tested vehicle, shamelessly touting of one of their new car dealer advertisers and their operation. One of the dealers (a Ford store in Pasadena) just went out of much for touting!

  • BKW BKW on Jul 10, 2008

    The Times said Dan Neil's column will be in the back pages of the Friday's Business section, along with other auto related stories.

  • Geotpf Geotpf on Jul 11, 2008

    The Highway 1 section was (at this point) just the auto dealer ads with a couple reviews. So, not too much was lost, IMHO-the auto reviews move the to business section, and the auto ads remain.