Category Archives: Weblogs

L.A. Times to cut 250 Jobs: Less Free Press; More Need for a Free Internet

lat_logo_inner.gif There’s good news and there’s bad news:
The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday announced plans to cut 250 positions across the company, including 150 positions in editorial, in a new effort to bring expenses into line with declining revenue. In a further cost-cutting step, the newspaper will reduce the number of pages it publishes each week by 15%.

“You all know the paradox we find ourselves in,” Times Editor Russ Stanton said in a memo to the staff. “Thanks to the Internet, we have more readers for our great journalism than at any time in our history. But also thanks to the Internet, our advertisers have more choices, and we have less money.”

Los Angeles Times to cut 250 jobs, including 150 from news staff, By Michael A. Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, July 3, 2008

One reason for these cuts is the housing downturn in California: fewer real estate ads. But there are deeper reasons:
Announcements of hundreds of reductions were issued only last week by dailies in Boston, San Jose, Detroit and elsewhere. Among Tribune newspapers, the Baltimore Sun said it would cut about 100 positions by early August and the Hartford Courant announced plans to cut about 50 newsroom positions. The New York Times and the Washington Post both instituted layoffs or buyouts to reduce their staffs this year.

Besides the changes in the newspaper industry, Tribune carries the burden of about $1 billion in annual payments on its debt, much of which it took on to finance the $8.2-billion buyout.

Sure, it’s happening everywhere. But the L.A. Times is one of the best sources of journalism around. Why did somebody find it worthwhile to buy it out just to load it up with debt and force layoffs?

Whether this newspaper was targetted or not, the handwriting is on the wall for fishwraps. They’ll either adapt to the Internet or die. I suspect many of them will die. That means we’ll lose many of our traditional sources of real reporting. Fortunately, some new sources are arising, such as Talking Points Memo, which bit into the Justice Department scandals and hung on like a bulldog. Yet blogs like that thus far have a tiny fraction of the resources of big newspapers like the L.A. Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. There’s going to be a time of unsettlement of the fishwrap plains while the new shops in cyberspace put down roots into the old country.

And we won’t have ready access to either the remaining existing newspapers worldwide or to the new online sources of reporting unless we have a free Internet. Yet another reason that net neutrality is important.

Yet another reason not to let the telcos get away with retroactive immunity. Remember, the telcos currently paying off Congress are the same companies that want to squelch net neutrality. If they can get away with handing over every bit to the NSA yesterday, why would they stop at squelching your P2P today?


When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission.

timbi.jpg One sentence sums it up:
When I invented the Web, I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission.

&mdash: Net Neutrality: This is serious by timbl (Tim Berners-Lee), DiG, Wed, 2006-06-21 16:35

That’s Internet freedom. That’s why we need net neutrality.

What is net neutrality?

If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.
Where you and I are any pair of participants on the Internet. Continue reading


Photograph by
Martynka Wawrzyniak
Ashley Qualls, aged 17, builds a myspace site, Whateverlife, earns $70,000/month, quits school, buys house, refuses $1.5 million buy out.
Her MySpace page layouts are available for the bargain price of…nothing. They’re free for the taking. Her only significant source of revenue so far is advertising.

Girl Power, by Chuck Salter, Fast Company, Issue 118, September 2007, Page 104

Ads by ValueClick Media, not DoubleClick.

Now imagine her doing this on a properly commoditized and monetized broadcast content duopoly-controled Internet. She wouldn’t be able to get approval, and if she did, she wouldn’t be able to afford the broadcast fees.

Internet freedom? Whatever!


PS: Seen on

A FiOS Way

thomas_t.jpg Verizon has a policy blog. It’s been around for most of a year now:
I’ll leave clever humor comparing this blog’s name with the terminology for amphibious offspring to others, yet in one sense the comparison is appropriate. “PoliBlog” is very much a site in its infancy, and none of us here at Verizon is sure how it will evolve. But evolve it will.

The intent of PoliBlog is to present perspectives on issues of importance that intersect public policy, politics, markets, and business in the broadband world. That’s a big pool to swim in, and it reflects the constantly changing world we live in.

, Welcome Aboard, by Tom Tauke, PolicyBlog, October 02, 2006

I have to give them points for seeing it as an emergent communication method including their point of view, rather than just dictating talking points.So far, they seem to be sticking to that. And they’re getting some interesting comments, pro and con. But let’s look outside their blog box a bit. Continue reading

Eerily Familiar

Office of the Army Chief Information Officer The Pentagon video and blogging ban is circumventable primarily due to multiple Internet providers in Iraq:
Deployed troops can still post their videos to YouTube, despite the recently announced Pentagon ban against accessing that site and ten others from government computers. The trick, says Rear Admiral Elizabeth Hight, is to use your own internet access or visit one of the rec center internet cafes, which plug into separate, commercial networks. The ban, she says, applies only to the 5 million computers worldwide connected to the official Department of Defense intranet.

Getting Around the YouTube Blockade, David Axe, DangerRoom, 17 May 2007

I suppose we could resort to going to the local Internet cafe to get around such bans if they occur stateside. Continue reading