Local newspaper officially becomes parody of itself
Fear of competition from new spoof website apparently spurs L.A. Times to switch format from journalism to joke.
By Saul Morton, Staff Writer
Faced with a torrent of red ink and competition from NotTheLATimes, a new spoof website, editors at the real L.A. Times have decided to adopt a fresh format: self-parody.
"We're jumping the shark," newsroom boss Stan Russton said today. "Studies show that young people get most of their news from Comedy Central's 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,' so we're going to follow the trend."
Final touches on the paper's redesign are still in progress, but a prototype was unveiled Sept. 23, when a funny cat photo replaced news about the nation's economic meltdown as top story on the Times' website.
"The cat photo was a monster hit," Russton said. "Readers dug it, and journalism blogs like LAObserved and WitnessLA gave it lots of ink. Even SF Weekly took notice."
Russton said preparations for the makeover began several months ago, when the alleged newspaper began diverting investigative reporting manpower to such topics as L.A.'s most popular dog names.
Not everyone likes the paper's new humorous format. In a telephone interview, a spokesman for NotTheLATimes.com, a parody website that debuted in July, expressed outrage. "The real L.A. Times totally ripped off our look and style," the spokesman said. "We're considering a lawsuit."