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Readers' Representative Journal
A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards
Dislike a comment? The button is back

By popular demand, the "dislike" button is back as a feature in the comments sections of latimes.com. 

As of today, an up arrow and a down arrow appears below each comment, next to the "reply" and "share" buttons. If you hover over them, you'll see the option to "like" or "dislike" the comment.

We heard from a number of readers when we switched commenting platforms last year that having the ability to simply click a button to register a response to a certain comment allowed more engagement within the commenting forums.

Let's face it, sometimes "thumbs down" is all you really want to say. And posting a rebuttal takes a commitment of time, thought and conviction.   

Clicking "dislike" on latimes.com will allow commenters to quickly express their dissent on a particular comment, and the number of dislikes a comment receives will appear next to the number of likes.

However, the act of disliking a comment will have no effect on where the comment is displayed. So there won't be any actual...

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2014 marked by explanatory, accountability journalism

Dear Readers,

As we embark on a new year, I want to take a moment to thank you for reading and to look back at the highlights of 2014.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times continued its tradition of delivering agenda-setting coverage of local, state, regional, national and international news. Our reporters and editors held officials accountable and touched readers. Our recent “Product of Mexico” series demonstrated The Times' vital role in the American conversation.

Thanks to our digital efforts — which included a relaunch of our website that made us one of the first major news organizations to offer a fully responsive design — we were more widely read than at any time in our 133-year history.

Your support made this outstanding journalism possible:

— We relaunched the California section as a showcase for our beat reporting, our analytical skills and our deft writing.

— We gave the most complete accounting to date of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's intervention in the case of the son of his...

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Renewal scam targets L.A. Times subscribers

Los Angeles Times subscribers have been receiving what appears to be an annual renewal notice, but at a rate about 40% higher than the actual cost.

An article in Wednesday's LATExtra section said that about 500 subscribers so far have reported receiving the fraudulent mailings.

The notice marked "Notice of renewal/New order" says it is from Readers Payment Service or Publishers Distribution Services and indicates that it is for "364 issues 1 yr(s)" of the Los Angeles Times.  It reads:

"Your subscription to LOS ANGELES TIMES is automatic with receipt of your payment when you choose to renew or order a new subscription. Fortunately, by acting now, you can lock in at one of our lowest rates!"

That rate is listed as $799.95 – which is about 40% higher than The Times' published annual subscription rate.

"Pretty sure this is a scam," one subscriber in Los Angeles wrote in an email to The Times, "but if it is not, then we won’t be renewing anytime soon."

She included a copy of her notice,...

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Staff news: Brandi Grissom, Amy Fiscus, Melody Petersen join L.A. Times

Times editors have announced three additions to the newsroom staff -- enterprise editor; an assistant editor in Washington, D.C.; and an aerospace reporter: 

From Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin:

As managing editor of the nonprofit Texas Tribune, Brandi Grissom has been a force for outstanding investigative journalism. So we’re thrilled to announce that she is heading to Los Angeles to join The Times’ Metro staff.

As Enterprise Editor, Brandi will help editors in Metro shoulder the workload of investigative and enterprise editing. She’ll also use her organizational and digital skills to help us plan and manage our projects more effectively. She will report to Shelby Grad.

The Texas Tribune focuses on investigative, policy and political reporting. Brandi has worked at the news site since it launched in 2009.  She knows her way around data and video, and she has excelled as both an investigative reporter and editor.

“Hurting for Work,” a recent series she...

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Staff news: Shelby Grad to oversee local coverage; Kim Murphy to head national/foreign

A memo to the newsroom from Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin:

Today we announce a reorganization involving three of our most important news departments. These changes will advance our efforts to produce a digital report second to none, and reaffirm our commitment to first-rate accountability and enterprise journalism.

We also announce, with decidedly mixed emotions, that Foreign Editor Mark Porubcansky is leaving The Times after 16 years as a mainstay of our international coverage.  More on that later.

Here are the details on the leadership changes:

California news

Shelby Grad becomes assistant managing editor for California news.

Shelby brings many valuable qualities to this important role: a deep knowledge of our city and state, a fire for accountability journalism, a relentless work ethic and fluency in digital journalism.

He succeeds Ashley Dunn, who is moving to the national desk after three and a half years leading Metro. As deputy national editor,...

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Staff news: Neal Leitereg joins Times' new Hot Property blog

Times Business Editor Kimi Yoshino announced the debut of the Hot Property blog, and the addition of reporter Neal Leitereg. Here's her memo to the staff:  

Since its inception in 1984, Hot Property has been a trailblazer for celebrity real estate news – a Times hallmark emulated by numerous other outlets in print and online. As it nears its 30th anniversary, Hot Property is undergoing an exciting expansion.

Neal Leitereg, who made a name for himself breaking sports celebrity news at Realtor.com, has joined The Times’ Business staff. He’s teamed with veteran Hot Property columnist Lauren Beale and real estate editor Peter Pae to launch a Hot Property blog that will be a must-read destination for celebrity real estate news.

The Hot Property coverage will include many new features:

Real estate transactions of all-star athletes and high-profile executives. Home of the Day – spotlighting the most spectacular houses on the market around Southern California and beyond. Throwback Thursday –...

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