The internet (or internets, if you're George Bush) has helped change the way news gets reported. Take for example, R. Scott Moxley's story on Los Angeles County Sheriff's Commander and candidate for Orange County Sheriff Ralph Martin's call for Mike Carona's immediate resignation. On Thursday at a press conference on the steps of the old county courthouse in Santa Ana, Martin denounced Sheriff Carona for his relationship with a Vegas mob associate and other wise guy-friendly types. “This is unacceptable behavior,” Martin said. “We can't allow our law enforcement personnel to be associated with known criminals or criminal associates.” And since pictures are worth a thousand words, Martin had pictures. Carona enjoying a moment with a relaxed looking mob associate. Carona posing with two of the wise guy-friendly and a big cake. And Carona swearing in those two cake-and-wise-guy friendlies as reserve OC sheriff deputies. All photos from the Weekly– unearthed by R. Scott Moxley and first published on the Weekly's website the day before the press conference as part of Scott's story, “'Dirty, Stupid or Both', Never mind the photo: Sheriff Carona denies Mafia ties”.
Without the online version of the Weekly, readers would have had to wait a week, instead of a few hours, to read about one of the leading candidates for sheriff taking on the incumbent over his fraternizing with people who resemble minor characters from a Martin Scorsese movie. Or they would have had to rely on the Orange County Register– which might not be the best idea, since the Reg seems to be pursuing a different internet strategy.
Friday's online version of the Reg did have a story on the press conference, if you could find it. The intrepid hunter had to click through three screens before getting to it. On the way there, you could check out the stories the Reg gave a higher priority. A holocaust survivor to speak in Fullerton. Anniversary celebration in Cerritos. Something about green buildings in Mission Viejo. An In and Out Burger related story. And a warning of a likely traffic slowdown this weekend because of freeway construction. All received more prominent placement than the “Dirty, Stupid or Both” issue erupting into the sheriff's race.
Now, some might question why this story was dumped somewhere behind Burger news and the never-ending story of delays due to freeway work, but I think the answer is obvious. The Reg has clearly adopted an online strategy of trying to make itself exciting, in the way that the late I.F. Stone used to find the Washington Post exciting. Stone, a legendary muckracking journalist, said the Post was an exciting paper to read, “because you never know on what page you would find a page-one story.”