The Ford Foundation has bestowed a $1 million, no-strings-attached grant to the Los Angeles Times, which reports the money will be used to bolster coverage of immigrant communities, California prisons, Brazil and, presumably, Brazilian immigrants in California prisons.
"These are vital coverage areas that have been affected by our need to make tough choices in the past decade," writes Editor Davan Maharaj, in an email to staff. "Although the grant is for two years, we intend to continue with these beats beyond that period. We will immediately start our search for reporters."
Guess they've lost the contact information for all the reporters who were laid off or took buyouts over the past decade.
Besides prisons, the Korean, Vietnamese and other immigrant communities and Brazil--which will give the Times its first full-time reporter in South America in years--the state's largest metropolitan daily plans to bolster coverage of the border region.
Maharaj explains his ink-stained wretches already hit on those subjects, but it is generally as they relate to a reporter's broader beat. The Ford Foundation infusion, which is the nonprofit's way of filling the coverage vacuum caused by dwindling circulation and advertising revenues, will allow individual journos to drill down farther as those will be their sole beats.
We'll see how, if at all, this will shade the Times' slim coverage of Orange County, although having the largest population of Vietnamese outside Vietnam in Little Saigon should at least get that reporter out here--or rather, back, given the Times covered Little Saigon for well over a decade until it decided Vietnamese weren't important anymore...but they are now! As along as that grant money keeps coming in!
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There is no specific mention by the Times of the Latino communities, so we'll see if any of the windfall will be used to resurrect the kind of fine coverage Agustin Gurza lavished on Orange County when the Times Orange County still thrived here.
As for covering the border--anyone remember when the Times had a San Diego section with real reporters and a bureau and everything? Well, jump up on gramp's knee and lemme tell ya 'bout it . . .at least Orange County has (Barbara Coe) several nutbars (Allan Mansoor) to lean on for counterpoints (Jim Gilchrist) while pursuing that hot topic.
But, more importantly, we here at the Weekly want to know who we gotta blow to get $1 million. (It's obviously not working on Anderson Cooper.) We cover the beejesus out of immigrant communities. We've gotten dudes out of prison. We have salon ads offering Brazilians. Come on, Ford Foundation, spread the love!