Developments at the LATBR

This morning, L.A. Observed posted an open letter sent by four previous editors of the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Calling the forthcoming termination of the Sunday Book Review “a historic retreat from the large ambitions which accompanied the birth of the section,” ex-editors Sonja Bolle, Digby Diehl, Jack Miles, and Steve Wasserman went on to write:

Angelenos in growing number are already choosing to cancel their subscriptions to the Sunday Times. The elimination of the Book Review, a philistine blunder that insults the cultural ambition of the city and the region, will only accelerate this process and further wound the long-term fiscal health of the newspaper.

Chicago Sun-Times Books Editor Teresa Budasi, however, isn’t buying some of this. This afternoon, on the Sun-Times Book Room blog, Budasi wrote, “Now is the time to take what you’re left with and do what you can with it. Just as the newspaper business as a whole is trying to figure out ways to reinvent itself, book review editors must do the same, whether it be by running shorter reviews, beefing up online content or what have you. Stop complaining about loss of culture and glorifying the past and move into the 21st century — where books are still plenty and people are still reading!”

Meanwhile, Rachel Deahl, the incompetent “journalist” at Publishers Weekly, is spreading rumors and misinformation, claiming that another LATBR editor besides Sara Lippincott is getting the axe. Her source, however, is not anyone currently employed by the Los Angeles Times, but Steve Wasserman. Hearsay doesn’t hold up in court and it shouldn’t hold up in reporting. And if there’s anything that I can report that comes from within the Los Angeles Times, I will report the news here. In the meantime, until there’s an actual statement from the Times, I think that one should dismiss Deahl’s third-hand information until the real news kicks in.

[RELATED: Deahl has also reported that Hartford Courant books editor Carole Goldberg has received the boot. But given Deahl’s handling of the LATBR news, I will make attempts to independently verify this information. (via Sarah)]

[UPDATE: Independent confirmation of LATBR cuts and Goldberg.]

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6 Comments

  1. “Stop complaining about loss of culture and glorifying the past and move into the 21st century — where books are still plenty and people are still reading!”

    Books are still “plenty”?!

  2. What a disaster.

  3. I found that response by the Chicago-Tribunes editor to be so ignorant and simple-minded. Then some other dude goes chimes in to whine about Wasserman. These are the print vanguards I should be looking to for an authoritative opinion on *anything* besides, possibly, the best way to get to a bookstore in their area?

  4. Urk. Take out that unnecessary “goes” after “dude”.

  5. […] When did the sanitizing of literature begin? Ed Champion keeps us abreast of the latest developments at the LA Times Book Review section […]

  6. Literally have not read the Trib more than twice since they eliminated the Sunday book section. Used to read it at a minimum every Sunday, and often every day. Apparently the marketing strategy is to focus on people who don’t read. Good luck with that.

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