Will LA Times Dare to Go Local–KCET Did


All over the internet, opinions are flying as to how to improve the Los Angeles Times. One idea keeps popping up:

Forget any pretentions towards being a national newspaper. Report the local news.

Certainly this sounds like defeat to those editors and writers with bigger dreams. But, they might be well to recall the story of KCET, the local PBS affiliate.

Years ago, KCET struggled to become a provider of national programming, just like WNET and WGBH. But producing national shows was expensive, and the results were mixed. When Al Jerome took over in 1996, he made regional programming a priority–and it worked. One of the most successful ventures in public broadcasting in years is KCET’s show for babysitters: A Place of Our Own. Talk about news you can use–would the Times ever do a piece on child care?

Other stand-outs are Life & Times, California Connected, Tavis Smiley, and perennial audience favorite, Huell Howser.

Okay, maybe maybe mentioning Huell is a little unfair–the Times already has Steve Harvey.