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article imageOp-Ed: Contact the LA Times? Good luck, you'll need it Special

By Paul Wallis     Nov 11, 2012 in Internet
Sydney - Until this morning, I had a pretty high opinion of the LA Times. I’ve read some great articles. Then I tried to find their coverage of a Prop 37 story we ran on DJ last week. So I thought I’d send something to them asking why no coverage.
The result was nothing less than ridiculous, bordering on the totally absurd.
The story I was asking about was Anne Sewell’s very disturbing piece about uncounted votes on Proposition 37. The story was that the proposition was “defeated”- With 1.6 million votes uncounted. Nearly 800,000 of these votes were in LA County.
Sound relevant to the LA Times? I’d have thought so. I checked their Prop 37 articles. Nothing. Checked “uncounted” on site search. Nothing.
This is an “advanced” search of Proposition+37 in the date range from voting day to today:
Zip about uncounted votes. Not a single damn word.
By now irritated and thoroughly unimpressed, I went looking for their contact page. It’s a long page, and there are some easy instructions on how to contact editorial and their Reader Representative page.
Result, two mail server failure notices.
Then the “send us a news tip” link didn’t work. My server reported there was no email address at the other end?
What got on my nerves originally was that the Readers Rep is a standard email contact. No go, according to my mail server, and the editorial email address produced exactly the same result.
Enough by now being more than enough, I rang their contact number. Got an answering service- And was told to leave a message. At this point it was 4PM on Sunday, their time. You can ring any other paper any time of day or night, and get an answer from an actual person, but apparently LAT likes its weekends. Not impressed. Anyway, I was still fuming from all those dud email options.
This is a news organization? More like a holiday camp for office boys so far. Keep those meetings raging guys, you’re doing fine. Checked out the parent company, Tribune Newspapers- And the “support” link directed me straight back to the LAT.
If there are any Californians reading this, you might want to try contacting the LAT on the toll-free number, just to see what happens. I tried 3 numbers in total, and got nowhere at all. I wasn't too worried about the phone costs, but I was less than overcome with awe at the fact that ringing from Australia, I couldn't find a living soul anywhere near a phone.
Meanwhile an observation- The usual practice for news media is to have email links that work and people on the other end of phones. It’s called “activity”, quite popular for the last few thousand years among humans as an alternative to being comatose.
Perhaps the LAT would like to try this stunning behavioural innovation and see if it works for them? Maybe even find some information, or -gasp- news?
I would have thought the Tribune newspapers were in enough trouble without annoying their digital reader base as well. Until now, I thought the LAT was a class act. The word “class” has now been dropped from my opinion.
While I’ve been playing post office, 1.6 million Americans have had their votes wasted. A vote is now a farce, and the big noise in news media in the affected state apparently can’t even run its email, let alone find a news story like that.
If it’s not too much trouble, LAT, you might want to check out Anne’s story. The other option is to check out and see if any jobs are going at the Chicago Tribune.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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