Despite the Church of Scientology across the street, the pit bulls next door and a car that didn’t really work, Ken Layne insists his original home office set-up for LA’s defunct LAExaminer.com was “very pleasant.” That description also applies to his overall reminiscences for The Awl.
Layne says he was prompted to start the site and quickly rope in neighborhood pal Matt Welch by his daily dose of Romenesko. Later on, Richard Riordan would almost turn the blog into a weekly print publication, which would have been super cool:
The style was just the way we talked around endless pitchers at Ye Rustic Inn up the street on Hillhurst, full of moral certainty and outrage and cheap jokes — it’s what is widely practiced and critically dismissed as “snark” today, although we never had any interest in celebrities. The dreary mayor James Hahn and the pompous columnists at the terrible Los Angeles Times were regular topics, as was boosterism about the Lakers, public transportation and the eastside neighborhoods in general. We were reflexively opposed to the bland wealthy valet parking lot of the Westside.
Why exactly was a Malibu real estate agent Layne’s “most engaged” early reader? You’ll have to read the piece to find out. There’s all sorts of other great stuff here, including a belated tip of the hat from Layne to Riordan, the businessman, and the recollection of a “genius” move by Nick Denton at the very outset of Gawker in 2003.