Some people have noted, (mostly) kindly, that topics in this column vary widely. Sometimes it focuses on the newsroom, sometimes on happenings in our area, while other times it opines on life generally.
This column is printed in both the Glendale News-Press and Burbank Leader. These papers together serve four very distinct areas: Burbank, Montrose, La Crescenta and Glendale proper. I live in Burbank, and have for nearly six years, but it would not be fair or proper to write only about Burbank.
It would also not be right to solely focus on any other area, nor would it be practical for me to write four separate columns each week.
But not writing about individual communities does have consequences. Some of the pricklier personalities among us have threatened to cancel their subscriptions, have engaged in sandbox name-calling or otherwise behaved badly. Why? Because I had the gall to write about one city’s happenings in the other city’s paper.
Frankly, though, I understand. The primary purpose of a community paper is to write about the community it serves. I think we do that, and do it well. Could we do better? Of course.
For instance, my neighbors have told me many times they resent the fact that Glendale receives its paper six days a week while Burbank gets its printed news twice weekly.
My exhortation that the Leader’s website is updated daily — often much more than daily — sounds like an excuse to them. Burbankers are a fiercely proud lot, and the lack of a daily newspaper seems like an affront. I understand that. Not only that, as a reader of the paper before becoming editor, I often voiced the same complaint I now get directed my way: too much Glendale in the Leader.
This obviously leads to a question: If I recognized the problem even before taking charge, why in the world haven’t I done something about it? Well, I think I have done something. Before, a lot of Glendale-specific news would end up in the Leader simply because the paper was understaffed and space needed to be filled.
That has stopped. The word “Glendale” does appear in the Leader, but generally only when there are issues — unemployment rates, state school funding, transportation issues — that apply to both communities.
This is not absolute, of course. I will place Glendale-specific stories in the Burbank paper — and vice-versa — if the news item seems sufficiently interesting. For instance, the Station fire was covered in the Leader, even though no Burbank homes were threatened, while articles concerning the Burbank Police Department were also printed in the News-Press.
This does not satisfy everyone, I understand. I have heard people request that we write separate articles, or assign different reporters to Burbank/Glendale issues. Perhaps that would be better, but it’s simply not practical. For the same reason, the Leader is unlikely to become a daily.
However, there are changes afoot that will increase our coverage in the coming months. As soon as I can provide more details, I will.
Also, I want to correct some rumors going around town. Despite the fact that the Los Angeles Times — which owns the Leader and News-Press — has access to Associated Press and City News Service stories, those services are not available to our papers.
The reason is simple: The AP and CNS consider the Leader and News-Press separate publications. As such, they want a separate fee, a fee we cannot afford.
I’m frankly not sure it would be worth it even if we could pay the fare. I am proud of the work our reporters, photographers and editors do. Though not perfect, we cover our cities very well. More importantly, we are continually improving. I hope you agree.
Dan Evans is the editor. Reach him at email@example.com.