In 1996, Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News exposed a shocking series of facts: that the CIA and the Reagan administration were covertly funding the Contras in Nicaragua by aiding and abetting the flow of crack cocaine to America, particularly inflicting terrible damage on inner-city black communities. In response, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times all began vicious campaigns to attack and discredit Webb. Although Webb was later vindicated by a CIA Inspector General report among other things, the damage was done, and the story still has an air of obfuscation and confusion around it. Along with the release of a new documentary, Freeway: Crack in the System, as well as a feature film starring Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb, Kill the Messenger, key figures in the CIA-crack cocaine scandal are beginning to come forward. Could this be the start of a renewed exploration of the government's complicity in the rise of crack in America?
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times celebrated the 130th anniversary of its first issue, and marked the occasion with 130 photos from Los Angeles history, as well as a gallery of historic front pages.
The Homicide Report, by Jill Leovy: An L.A. Times blog built on the list of homicide victims reported to the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office each week.
The Los Angeles Times goes multimedia. For the past few weeks, the LA Times has begun a significant push into offering video, audio, and interactive Flash on their website. One of the most interesting aspects is that the paper has moved one step beyond simply replaying AP Television clips as many sites have done; the LA Times writers are stand before the cameras and microphones themselves and report stories in a stuttering, non-hairsprayed, introverted demeanor that I find very refreshing, though so far I have gleaned very little additional information from it. When does (or can) this mode of journalism on the web rise above gimmickry or 'just because we can' and add value to a written article? Can video/tv news rise above mere spectacle?
Can the LA Times write a decent story about bloggers and blogging? They certainly didn't in their latest piece. Plus they took an interesting angle of writing about bloggers, but ignoring every single LA-based blogger despite the fact that LA just might be home to the largest community of bloggers on the planet. But LA shouldn't feel shunned, the Times didnt mention the Instapundit, Ev, or Metafilter either.