In Conclusion

23 04 2011

This will be my last post to this blog for JO540. I have spent the semester following the LATimes and posted mostly about things I did not like or articles I thought were interesting.

Overall, I do not entirely dislike the Times. I think some of their layout decisions are questionable, but their coverage is mostly excellent. I wish photos and videos were more prominent because they are not fully utilizing the online medium.  I don’t read the paper-version of the Times, but I do hope the content is varied between the two media.

I would not pay for the LATimes online, nor will I continue to keep track of it after this semester. I didn’t find it very enthralling or even terribly interesting, but I am glad I was able to cover it this semester. As a major West coast news source, it’s interesting to see how they balance their content.

The entertainment box at the very top of the page will annoy me forever though.


I do not care about you Kristen Stewart.

10 04 2011

I’m sure you might be an okay person, but I just don’t care what you’re doing for your 21st birthday. I don’t want to supply you with confetti or booze.

How is this news?  Why are “stories” like this on the front page of Major National Newspapers (above the fold no less!) ? On TMZ or Perez, totally understandable, that’s what they do, but on LATimes?

I’m so glad that the dwindling funds in the newspaper’s coffers are being used to pay for celebrity gossip. Truly, I am! I wouldn’t have as much to complain about if they didn’t.

I am confused and afraid.

New Procedure for Aortic Valve Stenosis, but trials show you’re twice as likely to have a stroke afterwards.

3 04 2011

Photo from Wikimedia Common.

I love the science section of all new sites. I like new fancy things, electronics, procedures, new planets, medical breakthroughs.  They’re great, and neat and they keep live innovative and interesting. And this article in the LA Times is no different.

A procedure for aortic valve stenosis that’s much less invasive and much cheaper! Using a catheter to replace the faulty valve. Great!

Wait a second. “Strokes and minor strokes were about twice as common in the minimally invasive group, and vascular complications such as bleeding or need for repair were about three times as common. But the group receiving the minimally invasive procedure was only about half as likely to undergo severe bleeding or to develop irregular heart rhythms.”

Um. What?

Granted, people on average are living two years longer after undergoing this procedure. I’m not sure I’d take those odds.

Long story short, this is cool, but I hope the whole stroke and bleeding issues are sorted out.

I really like how those facts are buried in the article too. I think that’s kind of important information before a whole bunch of elderly people jump on the catheter procedure bus.

This is promising and cool, but It’s still concerning.

“Officials retract reports of extremely high radiation at Fukushima plant “

27 03 2011

This gem from the Times today is an interesting story. Apparently officials in Japan misread levels of radioactivity in pools of water around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The story is actually pretty well-written and the lead photo is well done (kudos, Yoshikazu Tsuno). I find all of the little side modules terribly distracting, however. My eyes dart everywhere to information that doesn’t aid the story I’m trying to read. I don’t particularly care about duck fat or the Times’s Facebook feed. Why are these things cluttering up the page? Do other people not find this hideously distracting?

I understand the importance of social media. But the bright, little widgets next to the lede make my eyes start zig-zagging down the page. I have gained nothing from this.

You can link it, you can share on Facebook, you can ReTweet it, and you can Digg it, but when you can’t focus on it, what’s the point anymore?


I’m Scanning and I Can’t Find Anything!

19 03 2011

Visually appealing, But what's with that Floating "Entertainment" box over there?

With the conflicts in Libya and Yemen and the threat of a nuclear catastrophe in Japan, major news outlets definitely aren’t lacking in material to report on. The LA Times and New York Times seem to have a very different approach of handling influx of news on their front pages.

I definitely appreciate the LA Times’s more photo-heavy approach (The NY Times has very few photos on the front page right now), but nowhere on the page do I see any coverage on the protests in Yemen. The stories are there, but you have to search for them.  The NY Times has articles pertaining to all of the major events all on the front page (the coverage of the situation in Japan is just below the fold).

I definitely feel like the NY Times is doing it better. Despite the lack of photos, the information is still presented in a way that makes sense. The LA Times is pretty, but if it were my only news source, I would have a hard time getting all of the information about current world events with this layout. It’s cluttered and difficult to assess the news as a whole given the strangely misplaces modules of information.

Annie Leibovitz, I hope you didn’t make these subject choices.

6 03 2011

I found this through Facebook and not the Times, but because it actually is FROM the Times, it gives me something to write about this week!

As a photojournalism major, Annie Leibovitz is like an idol. Despite her legal troubles, her body of work is fantastic and iconic. This Disney thing is a little weird though. It highlights her technical mastery, yes, but not so much an ability to choose subject matter. Why is Peter Pan old? Because he’s dancer Mikhail Baryshinkov! Baryshnikov is 63 according to a quick Google search. Peter Pan never ages. Disparity? Yes.

I’m also not sure at all why the Times chose to put this on the site. The photos are 500×337 pixels. I can’t see any detail. I can’t really look at them without sitting two inches from my screen and squinting a little bit. What’s the point? I am not compelled to go to Disney right now and I’m a little annoyed I can’t look at the details in a photo by a photographer who I know has skills that I’d like to look at in as high definition as humanly possible. This could have been pretty neat, but the Times chose to run tiny photos. I am not visually stimulated. Sorry LA Times.

Jeff Bridges as the handsome prince from Beauty and the Beast? Inspired. My childhood may have died a little bit.

Comparison Time: In a world where Charlie Sheen is more talked about than the Libyan protests.

25 02 2011

At the time of writing, this article about Charlie Sheen..being Charlie Sheen has 40 comments. Mostly people complaining about how he’s an idiot (there are also several comparisons to Lindsay Lohan, who I wasn’t aware was still relevant). What I don’t understand is why this article (on the main page, with a giant image and headline) on the Libyan uprising only has 12 comments.

I am not criticizing the Times for posting both articles. The Charlie Sheen piece is very obviously something that belongs in entertainment news. But I am somewhat disappointed in my fellow newsreader. Oh no, Charlie Sheen said something outrageous. How is that more worth discussing than a country rebelling against its tyrant leader? It’s so disheartening to realize that people definitely don’t seem to be paying as much attention as they should be to international affairs.

Isn’t the future of the lives of millions of lives more important than the future of your favorite sitcom?