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LA Times turns it's back on local coverage

by Karen R. Pomer Saturday, Sep. 16, 2000 at 8:38 PM

The L.A. Times has just ceased publication of Our Times sections covering neighborhood news in 14 Southland communities -- an all-too-typical example of how corporate media fail to serve real community needs. Activist and radio producer Karen Pomer is circulating the following open letter to the staff of Our Times Santa Monica, which IMC-LA is proud to reproduce.

To the staff of Our Times Santa Monica:

Thank you so much for your wonderful irreplaceable coverage of the Santa Monica and Westside of Los Angeles. The paper and your wonderful energetic reporters will be truly missed.

The only one's who won't miss you are with the management of the Loew's hotel. You have been an important thorn in their side. It is doubtful the story of their worker's drive for a real "living wage" would have made national headlines, if not for your coverage.

As a victim of a violent crime in Santa Monica and I believe your vigilant coverage of the "Southside" rapist help keep the pressure on the Santa Monica Police Department to investigate, arrest charge someone with the serial crimes as well as keeping the community informed. The preliminary hearing for the accused is scheduled for next month. There would have been an Our Times reporter there for sure.

To John Puerner, Publisher, Los Angeles Times and John S. Carroll, Editor, Los Angeles Times:

The Los Angeles Times decision to discontinue the publication of "Our Times" across the Southland is sending a message to many local communities that you just don't care.

To cease publication of Our Times is sending the wrong message to these communities: Our Times, Brea Our Times, Conejo Our Times, Crenshaw Our Times, Fullerton Our Times, Irvine Our Times, Laguna Hills Our Times, Mission Viejo Our Times, Montebello/Pico Rivera Our Times, San Juan Capistrano Our Times, Santa Clarita Our Times, Santa Monica Our Times, Sherman Oaks Our Times, Simi Valley Our Times, West Ventura

Columnist Bob Scheer wrote so eloquently in today's Our Times, "At least on the Westside, there are people with resources to make their voices heard. They will fill the vacuum of a newspaper's demise. But what about the communities of Crenshaw or Montebello, neglected so completely before the appearance of a local Our Times? Does it not matter when their high school teams win or when their kids are victims of violence?"

Well, what about those underserved communities? Is this what journalism has now come to, the bottom line? Should we expect more of the same from the Tribune Corporation?

Bob Scheer reminded the readers of Our Times of the maxim of the journalist "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Does the Los Angeles Times just serve the comfortable?

Sincerely yours,

Karen R. Pomer

Los Angeles

PS I am forwarding this letter to friends and colleagues to encourage them write and/or call the Los Angeles Times to protest the cancellation of Our Times and urging them to in turn write their friends to do the same.

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