This morning I’m a tad more knowledgable about factors that may have led to Patrick Goldstein having taken a buyout from the L.A. Times and shut down his 12 year-old column, “The Big Picture.” A key thing for any working journalist to consider is to think about the amount of content you produced ten years ago, and then ask yourself “would that cut it in today’s media environment?” Ten years ago I was banging out two columns per week for Reel.com, and no, that would not cut it today.
This, I gather, is the crux of the Goldstein exit saga. He wouldn’t agree to grim up, eat more Wheaties and churn out more stuff. He wouldn’t get with the 2012 program.
You could assert that it was unrealistic for anyone who had Goldstein’s gig to run with the mindset of “I’m going to write one column a week and tap out a few blog posts in the margins.” It seemed that more than a few of his columns, boiled down, were basically “I just went to lunch with so and so” along with that “summer movie posse” thing (show kids some trailers) he’s been doing since forever. We all go dry or stale from time to time and need to re-charge, but it did seem as if Goldstein was out of ideas or running low on gas or something along those lines.
There’s also a view with although the L.A. Times is structurally unsound with creaking timbers and financial wolves circling (hence my remark yesterday that it’s “largely a gutted, dying organization”), Calendar, run by John Corrigan, is actually a fairly lively place to be. It’s now employing six movie writer-reporters in hopes of ramping up on that Oscar season ad income. The latest new staffers are Mark Olsen and Glenn Whipp, adding to Rebecca Keegan, Steven Zeitchik, Amy Kaufman and Nicole Sperling. So Goldstein is gone, okay, but new writers, new ideas and new innovations will quickly rush in and take his place.