Independent Writing from an Independent Mind

Open discussion about writing and reading

LA Times – Taking a Step Backward!

This morning I read the very unfortunate news in Publishers Weekly that the Los Angeles Times would no longer be running their standalone Book Review section.  This is to me much more a reflection of where we are going as a society than the sad picture that can be painted of the Los Angeles Times.

Newspapers have been having it tough for years and anyone who knows how newspapers are surviving now know that it is from their own unique content.  For instance, in a daily newspaper you will note that most of the national and international stories are from press agencies.  The stories of interest and local stories are generally carried by their own reporters.  So when you see an article in the travel section, books section, etc., this was planned and written well in advance.  These writers don’t get their scoop in the morning, do their research and writing in the afternoon and have the story in the paper the next morning.  Nope, it is planned well in advance.  This takes lots of investment on the part of the newspaper.  So when a newspaper closes a standalone section it generally doesn’t reflect on the personal opinions of the paper’s management but rather the financial consideration of keep the section open – Is it profitable or not?

Newspaper readership took hits when people were turning to television but it has taken black eyes and bloody noses from the internet.  If the advertising money was in the Book Review section it would not have been in danger.  Simply put, the readers didn’t care.  And that is a crying shame.

I don’t want to be the voice of gloom and doom but when we de-emphasize reading, people, we lose our civility.  Sure, we can all become technophiles and spend our time on the internet (Lord knows I have done lots of that lately) but when we lose our love for books and all things about books then we fail ourselves.  We have no one else to blame but us.

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