Here as half-promised are my follow-up thoughts on Deaniac turned McCain dabbler and ultimate Harvard tech prof Nicco Mele becoming deputy publisher of the Los Angeles Times.
I mainly talk about the political ramifications--which disappoint me--but the task now falls to Mele to figure out how to monetize the digital side of the newspaper.
An editor wrote me yesterday...
...to observe that I noted Mele worked with softly Republican LA Mayoral Candidate Austin Beutner in his quixotic mayoral run, and that others have not noted that. Beutner now as Times new publisher is now Mele's boss again.
Anticipating that race, I did not interview Mele but I did interview Beutner a few years back. Kossacks won't like to hear it, but LA is indeed rife with faux-liberalism especially in its Council Chamber, and the Yankee Republican Beutner ironically offered some hope at real reform. But local media largely ignored him, which I suppose they can't do now so much because he now runs the top media institution.
Though I am inclined to like the guy, I confess I don't understand any of the moves Beutner has made regarding the paper to-date. Not one of them. He has stated he will undertake a decided arm's length from its editorial positioning, which in this case is not something to admire; he appears to have been convinced by journalists themselves that it is in his best interests to do so. He has revived the paper's California section, which is pleasant to journalists to write for because it's easy and breezy, but it also turns a third of the paper into a knockoff of Sunset Magazine, popular with an audience that it already has, the 55 and up set. And now he has hired yet another fellow with no real newspaper experience, and an even more theoretical one at that, as his own uppity lieutenant.
I realize there are whole large American cities where there is no meaningful local political coverage at all. But if the rest of the nation wonders why there are no great or promising future Democrats coming out of Los Angeles in particular, you may like thinking about the ramifications of a local media that looks for trouble only in irrelevant spots like Maywood and the 605 corridor.