Historical Journalism Took Two Blows Yesterday

LA Observed reports that Los Angeles Times reporter Cecilia Rasmussen is taking a buyout, and that's a terrible loss for lovers of historical journalism. Her longtime Sunday feature, Then & Now, was the last regular newspaper feature in Southern California that treated historical events as serious journalism instead of quaint memories.

Though usually writing about Los Angeles events, Rasmussen occasionally covered Orange County and always wrote in a sharp, readable method that made history palatable to modern-day readers. It's unknown whether the Times will continue Then & Now, but we're not hopeful--after all, the Orange County Register hasn't run John Wescott's historical briefs for years, and most of the Reg's readers are coffin dodgers who are unfortunately history's primary audience.

If you need a consistent history fix, read OC History Roundup (even though it's of the Orange Crate Label school of history), OCThen (even though it's history-as-scrapbook) and my own Gunkist Memories (even though it's of the wannabe-Carey McWilliams tradition). And for heaven's sake, don't read the Register's inaccurate (wrong number of deaths, wrong date on the Prado Dam bond measure passage--but who's taking note?) recent story on the Great Flood of 1938, which wrought its watery hell 70 years ago this week--read mine!


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