Ten years ago this month, I joined the L.A. Times book blog, Jacket Copy. Blogs were a thing then — they were becoming a cultural force and were beginning to be accepted by institutions, including The Times.
It was clear that blogs were a way to get news and commentary onto the internet quickly. For a few years, I’d been blogging about books on a site called Pinky’s Paperhaus, during which time I’d become a contributor to the metroblog LAist and then its editor, before skedaddling for graduate school in Pittsburgh. It was from there that I started writing for Jacket Copy (you can see my first post here). And now, many, many, many, many, many, many, many posts later, I’m the Times’ Books editor.
To me, all the mechanics of blogging — writing quickly and with a point of view, taking photos and getting stuff up fast — came naturally. I didn’t realize how hard those processes might be for a century-old print publication like The Times. I can only image what kind of internal debates were happening here at the time, and I’m grateful that David L. Ulin, the books editor back then, supported the idea of jumping into the online conversation.
Technologically, it was clear that there was some ambivalence about the project. The first platform we used was an adapted version of Typepad, sort of cobbled together to appear to be part of the Times website. The two were separate systems. Over time, the blog platform changed and changed again — there was even a small Wordpress club, which I longed to join — but they remained siloed. But eventually, the two systems became one: writing for the web and writing for the paper were done in the same place.
And technology is why we don’t need Jacket Copy anymore. A terrific Times website redesign with new back-end functionality rolled out in January. We no longer need to have one place for book news and chronological postings (Jacket Copy) and another for our book features and reviews. It will all simply be found in Books.
What’s been posted on Jacket Copy isn’t going anywhere; the content will remain online. Happy reading.