The art world isn’t my beat, the news is so I couldn’t help but notice the NYTimes had a lengthy story on the front of its culture section today on Eli Broad deciding he’ll build his own museum in Beverly Hills to display his vast collection. The LA Times had a short story on page 8 of its culture section atop a bunch of movie listings.
That doesn’t reflect the LAT’s not seeing the significance of this story among the culturati. It simply was beaten on the story and was catching up late in the day and had no place better to put it — except on the paper’s front page in place of the story about the transgender mayor of a small Oregon town.
No brainer. There’s lots of signs the Times they are a changin’ whether it’s the demoralizing impact of one round of layoffs after or another, the new leadership team or confusion/resistance to demands from owner Sam Zell for change.
The story earlier in the week by the Dave Zahniser, normally a terrific and tough reporter, is a case in point. It heaped unending praise on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his Oscar-worthy performances in front of the TV cameras during the recent spate of catastrophes as if such symbolic roles was all that is expected of him like the Queen of England.
There’s lots of other examples of hackneyed journalism these days in the LAT.
No doubt papers get scooped all the time but the LAT has long owned the Eli Broad beat. He is the richest, most influential, most civic-minded philanthropist in town and except for one piece mocking his art collection as mediocre, the paper has always treated him and his interests in a flattering and largely uncritical manner.
In the art world of L.A. where MOCA is in serious financial trouble and LACMA losing support because of the impact on the wealthy of the nation’s economic crisis, the news that Broad has finally made up his mind about building his own museum is a big story.
The NYT got the story by getting hold a letter Broad’s lawyer sent last month to Beverly Hills officials. The story probably was on the Internet already when the LAT started to play catchup by calling the head of the Broad Art Foundation, Joanne Heyler, who confirmed that the top site is at the busy corner where Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards meet.
For once, my point isn’t to pick on the LATimes, which didn’t bother to mention the NYTimes had the story first. It goes to the transformation of the world of news and information.
To the consumers of news and information, it doesn’t matter at all where they find out what’s going on.
The NBC Los Angeles website I blog for is built around that idea, using items of interest to L.A. no matter where the story comes from whether it’s corporate media, its own content, blogs or whatever. Its goal is to be a one-stop site for L.A. news.
I’m developing a site called OURLA.ORG as a non-profit website for community and political news and conversation for the entire city — a sort of Valley News meets Facebook meets Huffington Post.
The business model and form of corporate journalism is broken and the industry hasn’t come close to figuring out a new way of doing business.
The result is a creative opportunity for Internet startups to fill the void left by the shrinking corporate meda. There will be an explosion of such effort in the next few years and for the activist community of L.A. to come together and set the agenda for news and information and community connection.