We're not supposed to like The Orange County Register, but we can't help but cringe after reading that the Reg is shrinking news staff yet again. The Reg (and the Los Angeles Times, for that matter) is atrophying before our hands—and that's not good for you and I.
I'll post why it's not good tomorrow, but I want to relay this anecdote from earlier this year involving the Los Angeles Times that relates to the Register's layoffs—promise!
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Earlier this year, I visited the Times' office on Spring Street to meet with a colleague (no defection talks, I swear). After showing me around the newsroom and first-floor museum, the reporter asked if I wanted to see the "catacombs"—the floor formerly occupied by Times-Mirror executives in its heyday, back when the Chandler family ruled over Southern California.
An entire floor—empty (sorry: can't remember which). We entered rooms formerly used exclusively for parties, offices of publishers, and large meeting rooms seemingly stolen from Dr. Strangelove: circular tables with mikes at each seat. "This is where business was once made!" my colleague said with awe. On we went with the adventure—more rooms, more hallways, with massive portraits of various Chandler patriarchs (General Otis, Otis, Harry) hanging from assorted walls. The design was from the 1970s; the carpet, plush; the art, terribly tacky. "Those Chandlers were notorious for their bad taste in art," my Times amiga/o volunteered.
We spent a good half-hour exploring the Times-Mirror floor. During that time, we saw no one else. My friend said he wanted to dress up a homeless man in a suit, let him live on the abandoned floor, and see how long it would take for Times honchos to notice. The experience was like walking through the ruins of Rome (and I can only imagine how desolate the Times' Orange County complex is).
The same fate probably awaits the Register—hey Mickadeit, think you can give me a tour after the deluge?