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David Poland

By David Poland

More Trouble For Traditional Media

It’s just a small thing, but i is illuminating.
This morning, on my return to Los Angeles, the LA Times ran a TV spot touting a 125th Anniversary edition. And what were they selling? 125 years of images of great moments in sports.
What’s wrong with this?
While I am sure the LAT package will be excellent, these are the kinds of events that used to be unique to Traditional Media. How else could the average person get access to decades and decades of cool images and memories?
But now, this kind of thing is endlessly available via the web. Moreover, there is the sense that the LAT is, in this ad, attaching themselves to these events as though the insititution naturally has something to do with them. What the LAT does own… what they are empowered by… are the words of their writers who analyzed those moments.
The notion that Traditional Media still owns the news is over. The new model is choice. Too much choice perhaps. But choice. And that choice is driven, as ever, by the offer of materials better or different than the rest of what has become everybody’s bottomless slush pile.

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4 Responses to “More Trouble For Traditional Media”

  1. palmtree says:

    I get that you’re saying we now have flickr and google images, etc. But is there not some kind of premium they can put on professional photographers, the kind that have a certain amount of craft involved with capturing the moment or perspective. Is that not valid in the same way that someone writing literary commentary is?

  2. David Poland says:

    I’m not saying that at all. What I am saying is that very few of the images in the 125 years of LA Times sports photography is exclusive or unique to the LAT… and that now that material is accessible in many other ways.

  3. palmtree says:

    So the distinction you’re making is between sports photography versus, say, war photography or protraiture?

  4. Cadavra says:

    This isn’t the only instance of LAT exaggeration. Their theatrical spots boast that they’ve been covering the local movie scene for “over a century.” The first films to be shot in L.A. were around 1907 or 1908–just under 100 years ago.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon