Sunday, March 18, 2007

Image Problem

The LA Times Image section debuted today. You are not to blame if you missed it. It is easy to miss if you do not subscribe to the print version. When you go to the LA Times home page, you will not find a tab for the Image section on the left. The astute might notice a gray bar in the middle of the page with links to The Week in Photos and the new Image section.

If you look at the url for the Image section, you will notice it is filed electronically under How much more muddled can you get?

If Style is good enough for the WaPost and the NYT, then why isn't it good enough for the LAT? Maybe they want to set themselves apart. They could have gone with a more serious-sounding name like Design. But they chose the word Image. Perhaps they meant to poke fun at the "image is everything" ethos in LA?

I seriously doubt it as the cover story has a huge picture of a very pale, blonde and blue-eyed actress, Chloe Sevigny. The accompanying feature story about her individual style was deadpan straight.

What about the other content? It is too early to tell. Translation: I was not thrilled with it but am forcing myself to keep an open mind.

One of the things I love about LA is its diversity and energy. We are a Pacific Rim city with ties to Asia and Latin America as well as Europe. I look to the LAT for stories about events around the world and their connection to my community. Their coverage of the Pacific Rim had no rival in the other national papers of record. (Notice I used the past tense as the Tribune Company wants the LAT to get out of the business of reporting on international events.)

The LAT, until recently "got LA" in that it was a paper for all of LA, not just for rich white folks who cooled their heels in LA between jetting off to their many vacation homes. Read the NY Times and you might never figure out that whites are a minority in NYC. No wonder some LAT staffers are calling the remake of the paper the "Manhattan Beach Project". For those that are not familiar with Manhattan Beach, that is not a compliment. ;-)

Image did a feature about Twinkle's designer, Wenlan Chia. She's a New York-based designer. The article even contains two free patterns reprinted from the book, "Twinkle's Big City Knits." If you like knitting with super bulky yarns and size 19 needles, you might want to check out the article.

I normally find the Current (high-concept name for Op-Ed) section rather lame. But today's paper contains a gem by Barry Schwartz, Make college admissions a crapshoot, buried in the inside pages. The article might leave people sputtering, "But, but...". However, he does make some good points about the crazy system in place today.

In case you are too lame (like me) to figure out how to navigate to the section, look at the links to the left of the LAT home page. Click on Opinion. That opens up another menu with several types of opinion pieces. Click on Sunday Current. Oy! the paper should spend a few bucks on an interface designer or human factors engineer.

Digression 2
Look at the four featured homes in West (the LAT Sunday magazine). Aren't the views amazing? Do you notice something that the homes have in common besides that?


  1. On Digression 2:
    I imagine that you're thinking of something else, such as all the interviewees are men but what strikes me about the West Mag. homes is that they are all neat as a pin and decorated very sparingly - I doubt that anyone with a real home life lives there.

    I'd bet the furniture alone in those houses costs as much as my hovel.

  2. I don't understand why everyone thinks Chloe Sevigny is a style icon. Her outfits are hideous! Her devil-may-care attitude about wearing suspenders and hot pants with Ugg boots may be admirable, but her "style" is certainly not.

    I long for a sparsely-decorated house like those in West magazine. All you need is the right storage.


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