Monday, May 14, 2007

Nice Move

Hey guys,

Just wanted to offer a quick note of congratulations to Jason Kandel, who's moving over from Valley News to cover breaking news for He's covered everything from heinous crime to fun neighborhood features and played an instrumental role along with Eugene in making the East of the 5 blog a great read. No matter his assignment, he's always had boundless enthusiasm and energy-- which will serve him well as he begins the grind at 5:30 to start updating the site.

This is an important job as we keep improving, one that will hopefully draw more and more eyes in coming months. Let's keep our own eyes on what all he comes up with and learn from it-- we're going to need to to stay alive in this business.

So well done, Mr. Kandel, and congratulations. You've definitely earned this job through hard work.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Truly Awesome News

Hey Y'all,

In case you didn't see the message yesterday, let me share the very, very cool news that is a finalist in the CNPA awards, making it one of the two best Web sites in the state to enter the annual contest. For that, two rounds of congratulations are in order.

The first goes to our former member Josh Kleinbaum, who's run the site as online editor for the past year. In that time, he's completely transformed it from an out-of-date shell into a much more versatile, reliable news source. Under his stewardship, we've added blogs, audio recordings, video, Web updates, better breaking news and interactive maps and graphics. And he did it all with a tiny, though talented staff, minimal resources and little time. In the final seven months of last year, Josh jumped us years ahead. We all owe him tremendous thanks.

And the second round goes to you guys. No matter how many good ideas he comes up with, it's you as the staff who provides the site with content. You're the ones podcasting, blogging, creating photo galleries and graphics. You're the ones editing videos and breaking stories online. And, most importantly, you're still developing and executing good, old-fashioned journalism alongside the new technology. No matter how much whiz-bang stuff we've got, we're only going to be as good as our stories and you're the ones who relentlessly churn out that great stuff.

Our site, much like our paper as a whole, still needs work, but we're getting there. As overhauls go through to make it crisper, cleaner and more efficient, it will only improve. In coming months, I expect to see the site really break out and shine-- you'll be the ones to pull it along the way.

So far, the partnership between the union and the company has produced excellent results. It was our contacts and relationships elsewhere in the industry that allowed us to collaborate on ways to update our jobs for the modern Web. Rather than standing in the way of these changes to our workplace, we've embraced them and played a role in integrating them into the newsroom. It's been especially heartening to see union members take the lead in so many ways -- I'm sure that spirit of working together will only grow stronger as we come across new opportunities and technologies.

And while contest wins are nice, the real test of the site's effectiveness is performance. That's the future, folks, and if we want to keep alive in this turbulent world of journalism, we're going to have to work even harder to ensure we get old readers to make the leap online and bring in new folks. Based on what we've done so far, I have every confidence we can do it. Thank you for all your hard work-- we'll need it and enjoy its benefits for years to come.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Dos Kudos (times two, plus one)

Hey folks,

This will be a short one, 'cause I'm on the verge of zonking out onto my keyboard in a matter of minutes, but I wanted to send out some props to our friends for some jobs well done. And thus, in no particular order....

Alex Dobuzinskis has been on a tear up in Santa Clarita as of late, covering both amusing debates over grammar and politics ( and heart-wrenching tragedy ( Nice job, pal.

Dana Bartholomew served up a good one with his feature on some recently unearthed Steinbeck treasures ( As always, he conveys a great sense of drama and excitement with his unmistakable style.

Kerry Kandel had the daunting task of making a real estate and development story on Warner Center interesting and did so quite nicely today ( Most importantly, it has significant added features on the Web, including a cool interactive graphic-- we've all gotta think of ways to spruce up our work with content like that.

Rachel Uranga's done a fine job of getting into the May Day controversy (along with Rick Orlov and Kerry, as well) (, keeping folks apprised of the talk of the town.

And, in a related note, but in a different sort of way, I was glad to see our own John McCoy quoted in the LA Times today in his capacity as president of the Press Photographers Association of Greater Los Angeles. Not only is John an excellent shooter, he's also always been a great advocate for good journalism and the protection of our colleagues. It made me proud to see him weighing in on the May Day mess and glad to see him taking a role in the discussion on how to handle this sad event and its fallout.

Alright, my typing is becoming increasingly unreliable, so here, I'll close. Thanks to all and to all a good night.