The J-Consultant Mafia Strikes Again

THE J-CONSULTANT MAFIA STRIKES AGAIN….Yesterday the LA Times announced that on Sunday it would unveil a “more dramatic look and new features to make it easier to navigate.” You can imagine my excitement.

Today, the dramatic redesign showed up on my driveway. It appears to consist of three things: (a) bolder, blacker headlines, (b) a picture bar across the top teasing some inside stories, and (c) bigger pictures above the fold.

In other words, precisely the changes made to every paper that’s hired a design consultant in the past 30 years. And more to the point, exactly the look of the Times’ corporate parent, the Chicago Tribune. So now the Times looks like every faceless second-tier metro daily in the country. Yippee.

Needless to say, the unavoidable result of this is that the front page has room for only four stories now, not the usual six or seven. Yippee again. And since pages 2 and 3 were given up to “navigational aids” and “briefing” items some time ago, this means that there’s now a grand total of four actual pieces of news in the first three pages of the paper. If my navigational needs are catered to any further I’m going to need an LA Times decoder ring just to find anything worth reading.

Here’s an idea: to make it easier to find the news, devote the first three pages of the paper to news. That’s easy! And then assume that anyone with an IQ high enough to be interested in a newspaper in the first place is well aware that they can find sports on the sports page and entertainment on the entertainment pages.

I know, I know. I’m a fossil. Don’t remind me. But a beige box on the front page of today’s paper informs me that “On weekdays, the changes are even more pronounced.” Be still, my heart.

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