LATimes.com Seeks Focus on Local, Mobile

The Los Angeles Times, a great newspaper that has been widely derided for its ineffectual Web site, hopes to turn the site around by bringing in Meredith Artley as its executive editor. Artley previously served as the Web site director for the International Herald Tribune in Paris.

In a podcast by Sandeep Junnarkar at Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review  frustratingly, no transcript and hardly any text  Artley says her goals are to focus on local, while exploring possibilities in mobile. “We need to make the L.A. Times integral to the community at large  whatever way that takes shape,” Artley told Junnarkar. She cites a broad list of possible activities, including database journalism, lifestyle coverage and user-generated content.

Artley notes that the L.A. Times already has a good building block in its Your Scene photo sharing feature. A recent series of photos focused on the snow in Malibu. “Readers are instinctively going to LATimes.com to share,” she notes.

Coming from Paris, where mobile services are more prevalent, Artley senses that compelling mobile services are just around the corner. But they aren’t really here yet. Mobile champions are “in the shoes of being a print person 10 to 12 years ago” before there were online advertising revenues, audiences, etc., she says. “All the news organizations need to pay attention to it. (Maybe) they need to invest in something new that is wireless only.”

Note: I like the idea of podcasts for certain things (instant conference coverage, conveying the tenor of Barry Diller’s sarcasm, whatever). But forcing readers to wade through the MP3s because there isn’t a transcript of the remarks or an edited story … I don’t know.

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