Today is a great day in the journalism world. The Los Angeles Times (the newspaper for my region) won two Pulitzer Prizes–the coveted public service award for uncovering corruption in the city of Bell and the feature photography award for its series on gang violence. Although the photography award deserves attention, my main focus will be on the public service award.
For those who don’t know about the Bell scandal, to sum it up in a few sentences, it largely involves a city manager named Robert Rizzo (could be related to Rizzo the Rat?), who, after years of scheming and little oversight, managed to earn about $1 million (including benefits). Salary alone is around $800,000. Keep in mind that Bell is a largely working class city with a small tax base and roughly 36,000 people. The question that many ask: Was it worth it?
To sum it up, the authorities caught Rizzo and his gang of city employees and council members (nearly of the part-time council members at the time earned in excess of $100,000), arrested them and are now awaiting trial. The outrageous scandal in this small suburb of Los Angeles prompted more questions about the salaries’ of local government officials and employees and encouraged more news outlets to look into local government. The actions of the journalists at the Los Angeles Times prompted more openness in local government as cities, counties and other local government organizations in California are required to post salaries by orders of the State Controller.
The Los Angeles Times’ Pulitzer Prize win is obviously good news for the aging paper, which has seen cutbacks in its staff and an ownership gone amok. It’s also good for local government transparency. At a recent Artesia city council meeting that I covered for Cerritos-Artesia Patch, the mayor is holding town hall meetings to encourage discussion and to dispel the image that all cities are like Bell. Good for Artesia!
However, challenges still remain at the venerable paper. Does the success of the paper in the investigation front mean more investment in the paper? Will keeping politicians accountable for their actions slow down after Bell? I hope that we can find the answers to these questions. Until then, the Los Angeles Times should be feted for uncovering this corruption and waste in Southern California.
OK, I think a lot of us have done it before. We find a coffeehouse that has Wi-Fi and spend long hours with one coffee and surf the internet. But now there’s a backlash to laptop guy.
In today’s Los Angeles Times Business section, I found an article by Jessica Guynn about how more coffeehouses are pulling the plug on Wi-Fi and making it harder for people with laptops to plug in their power. Why? It’s hurting their bottom line. Basically, some people spend long hours using up the Wi-Fi while not spending enough on coffee or other stuff. In short, while many complain about coffeehouses pulling the plug, others praise them because they have no Wi-Fi.
As for me, I try to avoid going to my local coffeehouse for Wi-Fi for these reasons:
-Not enough space and/or sockets: It seems like almost every time I bring my laptop for the Wi-Fi, most places either don’t have enough room or sockets to give my laptop some juice.
-Slow Wi-Fi: If it’s slow, how can I do my work?
-Distractions: Honestly, I don’t get work done if I have easy access to the Internet for obvious reasons.
While I agree that Wi-Fi has the potential to attract customers to establishments, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will bring more money. Perhaps it would be best to stick to guaranteeing a good cup of coffee and maybe, just maybe, some good music.
What do you think? Is Wi-Fi a necessity in the coffeehouse or a burden to the true purpose of it? I’d really, really want to hear from you, so you better comment!
I’m back to reading newspapers once again. After I purchased my iPhone, I thought I abandoned print because my local newspapers back in California, the Los Angeles Times and The Orange County Register were charging too much for flimsy content. Now that I’m a Journalism student, it makes sense to buy newspapers once again because I need it for story ideas. After all, The Guardian at the uni store costs only 40p, a lot less than the LA Times did back at UCLA (and they didn’t have student prices).
I noticed that on many occasions, the national papers give free stuff away. This week, The Times is packaging novels along with the news. I would buy The Times had they packages novels that would interest me. The Last of the Mohicans? That was so middle school. The Guardian, on the other hand, has this series called “Great fairytales.” Some of them are familiar, like “Cinderella” and “The Little Mermaid” (thanks a lot Walt Disney), and others I haven’t even heard about like “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” or “Mossycoat.” It’s not that I read any of these fairytales; perhaps the day will come when I have children (if I ever have children) and daddy needs to read a story.
Other stuff I’ve gotten for free from newspapers–and were more useful or interesting–were a First Aid guide by the British Red Cross, The History of World War, and The Observer’s Book of Scandals (a fine read indeed). I’m sure giving away stuff makes certain people want to buy newspapers, but should every day be a free giveaway?
I suppose if I was still living in Orange County, The Orange County Register could give free Rally Monkey posters or the Los Angeles Times giving away posters of Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher, Andrew Bynum, and Lamar Odom every day for one week. Now wouldn’t that help with their flagging circulation? Do you like getting free stuff from your newspaper?