Monday, May 4, 2009

A message of dread

Tom Hoffarth has posted a powerfully somber, candid reflection on the loss of colleague Tony Jackson, and the state of sports journalism in Los Angeles County. Equal parts sadness and frustration, Hoffarth's drafted an elegy that doesn't cover any new ground, yet manages to grab your attention anyways. In a few blunt words, he's managed to convey what many of us are feeling.

Those of us left paddling in a circle, as it sometimes feel, feel like our lifejackets keep slipping off our shoulders. We huddle up, as a good team does, and try to figure out how to tie a rope to each other and make survival last a few more weeks. Because no matter when you think that last tidal wave has come, there's another on the horizon.

So far, Hoffarth seems to have touched a never among the non-journalists in cyberspace. Commenter "gregb" posted the following:

Tony's firing was the final straw for this subscriber. The DN sports section has deteriorated tremendously in the last 18 months. Wire service copy for Clippers, Kings, Ducks, CSUN and glorified "non-wire" for the Angels. High school coverage has been reduce to "junk status."

I cancelled the paper because I will not pay metro prices for nothing more than a glorified wire service newspaper. I have been a Daily News reader since it was the Van Nuys News and a four-day a week paper. Now it will be as a non-subscriber because ownership didn't care about me as a paying customer.

Every time the staff is reduced, the circulation seems to take another hit. Maybe re-investing in the product side of our business isn't a cure-all for what's plaguing the industry, but wouldn't it be a good place to start?

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