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carole lombard 07

The Times, it is a-movin'

Posted by vp19 on 2018.04.15 at 19:51
Current mood: hopefulhopeful

This still of Carole Lombard is from the only time she ever played a newspaper reporter on screen, the 1929 Pathe film "Big News." (She also played a journalist in the 1941 Silver Theater radio production "Murder, Unlimited,")

While Carole never played a reporter as iconic as Rosalind Russell in "His Girl Friday" or Glenda Farrell in the "Torchy Blane" series, I'm guessing she was an inveterate reader of newspapers. Back then, most folks were. How else would they get news coverage? Radio news reporting was in its infancy, television was in its experimental stages, and the Internet or social media? The stuff of science fiction.

Which newspapers did Lombard read? Probably quite a few, though it's doubtful she read all of them every day. She likely saw both Hearst papers, the Herald and the Examiner; the Daily News, then a tabloid (and unrelated to the current publication, which focuses on the San Fernando Valley), and a few others, including several dailies printed in Hollywood, such as the Citizen (later the Citizen-News).

But there's one daily she certainly read...

...the Los Angeles Times, by far the largest of the city's dailies. The front page above is from November 1936, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt easily won re-election by trouncing Republican nominee Alf Landon. The year before, the Times had moved to a new home at First and Spring streets, near City Hall:

It's possible Lombard visited the Times offices to meet entertainment columnists such as Edwin Schallert (father of respected character actor William Schallert) and former fellow actor Hedda Hopper, though I have no concrete proof. But were Carole to magically re-materialize three months from now and wanted to drop by the Times, we'd have to send her to...

...El Segundo?

Yes, it was announced Friday that at the end of June, the Times is vacating its longtime downtown home for a small beachfront city in the southwest suburbs, not far from Los Angeles International Airport.

The newspaper had been expected to leave the building after its previous owner sold it to a Canadian developer (which plans to convert it into retail and housing), and new owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, a surgeon-entrepreneur with a net worth of $7.6 billion, had to find new editorial space. But few expected El Segundo, about 19 miles from downtown, would be where it would relocate.

When he told stunned staffers about the move Friday, he said the new offices would be in an eight-story building that would include a museum, event and retail space. Among tweets from reporters regarding the move were:
* "El Segundo is at least 45 minutes from everywhere, including El Segundo."
* "Everyone has Google Maps open on their screens, calculating new commute times."
* "I just had the same waking nightmare. Very excited to wake up at 3:30 a.m."
(Many Times employees live north or east of their current downtown offices.)

By process of elimination -- since you can't erect an eight-story building in El Segundo in under three months -- it's been determined the new Times headquarters will be on 2300 Imperial Highway, near a few bus lines (one of them from downtown) and half a mile from the Mariposa station on Metro's Green Line.

For the sake of metro reporters covering City Hall and other city governmental operations, I hope the Times rents a small office for a local news bureau. Perhaps something similar can be set up in Hollywood or Studio City for entertainment coverage.

These are tough times for newspapers, which are cutting back staffing all over the place. Even the future of a large daily such as the Denver Post -- owned by a hedge fund -- is uncertain following a recent round of layoffs that outraged staffers.

Frankly, this former reporter and copy editor is happy the Times again has local ownership who appear willing to put money into the product and restore the paper to its greatness in the '70s and '80s. Out-of-town ownership seriously damaged its reputation. But as someone elsewhere quipped, it would be like moving the New York Times to Ronkonkoma (a small town on Long Island). If moving to El Segundo saves the Times, I'm all for it.

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