Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Columnists

When the LA Times dropped long-time columnist Al Martinez last week, it caused quite an uproar among the paper's readership.

The Times has posted an explanation of why Martinez's column is being cut and a dozen or so readers have posted responses to it.

The explanation notes that Martinez was given ample advance notice that his column was being terminated. In fact, his last column for the paper is still yet to appear. It will run on January 19.

That's quite a contrast to what happened at the Santa Barbara News-Press last week when it laid-off gossip columnist Richard Mineards.

According to what I've been told, Mineards had returned to work last Wednesday morning after being gone for the Christmas holidays when he was approached by Don Katich, the paper's director of news operations, and was informed that his column was being "eliminated" as of then. The need to cut costs was the reason cited by the paper for their decision.

As far as I can determine, the paper has not published an announcement of Mineards' departure.

If there's been an outcry from those readers who have noticed Mineards' absence, the News-Press is keeping it a secret.

On the other hand, if there were no letters to the paper lamenting his departure, was it that no one was reading Mineards, or that hardly anyone is reading the News-Press these days?