Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


End of a newspaper era (for me)

As I complained about here and here, the Los Angeles Times is further eviscerating its newspaper on March 2nd. For the past few years, the paper has been shedding sections and pages seemingly daily. Today — a Sunday — it took me longer to cut my grapefruit than it did to read the entire paper.

As I’ve been telling everyone I see, including an absolute stranger at Royce Hall on Friday night for the interview with Werner Herzog, I’m canceling my subscription. This has been a painful decision, given my lifelong love of newspapers. My first job, at age 14, was with the Atlantic City Press selling classified ads. (This was before every newspaper in the world was outwitted by a guy named Craig working out of his house. Craig now has all their classified ads. Now they’re Craig’s.) At various times in my young adulthood I was a reporter, an editor, or a freelancer. The paper, which ever paper it was, has always meant a lot to me. For 30 years, I’ve loved getting the paper off the lawn and reading it over my first cup of coffee.

But no more. I’m not interested in spending $350 a year to help Sam Zell make his mortgage payment — especially since he’s bankrupted the Times but not himself. And it makes me feel really stupid to spend that (or anything) while he’s shrinking the paper, and while 700,000 of us who buy the paper are subsidizing 12 million who are reading it all for free online. I think I’ll just join the freeloaders.

Will it be hard to give up? Probably, as with all addictions. But I’m going to wait until March 2nd. Because I’m sure that one glimpse of the new, anorexic and tubercular Times will convince me it’s time to remove life support.

6 Responses to “End of a newspaper era (for me)”

  1. Paul Crist Says:

    After I read your blog about the L.A. Times I clicked on KYW 1060’s web site and the first headline was the parent company f the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Both papers had been cutting staff for several years. But with the debt load and shrinking ad revenue the company was forced to take this action.


  2. Rich Roesberg Says:

    Maybe Rupert Murdoch will buy these papers and make them good again. Yes?

  3. Dan Says:

    So where do you read the funnies & your daily horoscope?

  4. Lee Wochner Says:

    Re the comics: I’m going to read them online. Here’s one of hundreds of helpful resources to do that: http://www.stus.com/3majors.htm

    And by the way, I learned today that the LA Times canceled my favorite comic strip, “Sally Forth.” One more reason to cancel the paper.

    Re horoscopes, here’s how I handle that. I go about my day, and then look back on it to see how right I was about it. So far, my accuracy rate far exceeds anything printed in the paper.

  5. leewochner.com » Blog Archive » Funnies, ha-ha Says:

    […] I recently said I was quitting my LA Times subscription because I don’t feel like helping Sam Zell eviscerate the paper so that he can make his […]

  6. leewochner.com » Blog Archive » Stop the presses Says:

    […] their companies to a guy named Craig working out of his house in San Francisco? I know I’ve already blogged about this, but these questions merit repeating. Newspaper owners (and publishers) have been remarkably […]

Leave a Reply