Thrilled by a 50% jump in circulation after the paper's recent makeover, Times editors announce additional changes.
By Abby Robcarian Reporting from a 2nd-floor newsroom desk
Defying media doomsayers, the L.A. Times attracted 400,000 new subscribers this week after unveiling its "better, bolder, brighter" format.
The groundbreaking changes included a slightly larger L.A. Times logo,
hand-drawn portraits of columnists, and section labels color-coordinated with Department of Homeland Security terrorism threat levels.
The reaction was jaw-dropping. At a Starbucks in Glendale, one newspaper reader was mobbed by young people who put down their iPods and asked, "Wow, where can I get one of those?"
And a Laguna Beach man marveled over how much easier the new look is to navigate. "I never used to be able to find the Sports section when the giant label at the top was printed in black ink," he said. "Now that the word 'Sports' is blue, finding the section is a snap. Clearly, these changes are designed to better match my lifestyle and reading habits."
Times staffers were elated. "All this angst about newsroom layoffs was apparently unfounded," editor Stan Russton said. "The solution to declining readership is cleaner typography and stippled portraits of columnists."
More changes are in the pipeline. "When Phase 2 of the redesign rolls out, portraits of the paper's signature columnists will be upgraded," Russton said. "Joel Stein's picture will be fashioned by a neon artist; Patt Morrison will appear in the pointillist style of Georges Seurat; Chris Erskine receives a mosaic makeover; and T.J. Simers gets the Jackson Pollock treatment. Unfortunately, because of budget constraints, the paper's other columnists will be stick figures or smiley faces."
Phase 2 will also feature ransom note lettering for the main L.A. Times logo (see photo, upper right), to symbolize that the newspaper is being held hostage by Sam Zell.