Field Notes: The Los Angeles Times_Inside

The Los Angeles Times local front is always found on pages AA3 and AA4 of the publication. Unless the Times is a Sunday print then the local front is found on page A33. The first page is always labeled as the California section. It typically includes a huge state issue, i.e. a law being passed or education issue. For instance, the screen shot shown below has articles that range in subject from stories about Proposition 8, schools losing community support, prison/inmate issues. I know it’s extremely difficult for The Los Angeles Times to cover every county and be mindful of all state matters. So I believe that may be why a majority what is found in the local section deals with things that have to do with L.A. County and Southern California in general.

My main disapproval with the “local fronts” section is that the section is in the back of the paper and the name shouldn’t be called California because a majority of the section’s topics cover L.A. County (maybe that’s just me?).

The setup for the California section can be quite text heavy. You will always see a large photograph at the top of the page (the biggest story for the section). The rest of the page just flows through mounds of text. It’s almost as if the effort to make the section appealing, is lost. These California stories, along other section of the paper, are not very visually distinctive. The section follows the direction of the front page, minus the colorful pictures. Headlines vary on size and get smaller depending on their importance for that day’s paper. I have noticed that there is a thick rule in the middle of the page, underneath the main story of the page.

The Los Angeles Times is very cookie-cutter, old-timer news design. That’s what makes the publication both admirable and respectable, and sometimes visually lacking (not counting the awesome designs from SND).

Inside pages

The Los Angeles Times is around 40% ads. Almost every single page has an ad on it, including A1 which places an ad at the bottom of the page. Ads are more prominent on the Saturday and Sunday issues. You’re likely to find four to five pages of ads in a row within the weekend publications. And most of the time these ads are blasted in color (kind of distracting from the real content). In the event that the publication has a special section, then that section may be laden with a differentiating color scheme.

For the inside pages content is arranged thusly: Largest photo at the top or in the middle of the page, smaller headlines with text follows.

You will definitely see color on A1, the Calendar section (singled out in red) and the sports sections. I have also included the special Health section as an example color use by the publication. The Calendar section is setup much like A1 with it’s full color photos and bottom ad placement. The Sports section will appear with ads sometimes, when it does the ads with be placed at the bottom (much like A1).

Again the cookie-cutter design starts to become apparent as you look through each day’s paper.