This was a day of changes for the L.A. Times. We previously shared the goodbye letter from the longtime Times Community News editor and reaction to it from a former Times staffer. The other big change involved the actual look of the L.A. Times itself.
A 1 ½-page special wraparound section heralded the changes that are intended to make the paper look and read better. It is intended to make clearer who the writers are and where they are writing from. And it is intended to better present the Times' unique storytellers.
The verdict: no big whoop.
Despite the tweaks, it still looks mostly like the Times. Dropping the “by” off the bylines seems extreme, as does wasting two lines to explain “reporting from blankity-blank” and not letting readers know until the very end of the story whether or not the writer is on staff. As for better identifying their unique storytellers, I never had a problem identifying them before, unless the storyteller died, quit or got his/her walking papers.
I'd much rather they saved all the money from this redesign and figured out a way to keep Marla Cone.
Kevin Roderick has a much more insightful critique at LA Observed. He also links to Times design guru Michael Whitley explaining the tweaks on the Society for News Design blog. The Sons of Steve Garvey sports blog rips apart the new Times sports page.