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All The Old News That's Fit To Blog

photo of the Musée d'Orsay clock by Gregg Sutter

I love the immediacy of blogs. I can see something happen, take a photo of it, and post it to my blog within minutes. So, what's LA Times' travel blogger Susan Spano's excuse? May 9, 2006, at 10:18 AM, she posts about the LA fashion promotion at Galeries Lafayette:

...I did walk by Galeries Lafayette at L'Opera, which has been running an L.A. fashion promotion. Judging strictly from the windows--mannequins in stiletto high heels, blond fright wigs and gold lamé bikinis, not to mention the occasional red electric guitar--the French must think we all look like Halloween in West Hollywood. It's pretty funny. I haven't been back to L.A. since February, but last time I checked, slightly more conservative attire was still de rigueur in Lalaland.

An American friend in Paris (another who, as Emmanuelle posts, reads Spano as a "pet hate"), went to see the display right after reading Spano's post. Lo and behold, the promotion has been over for more than a week!

Perish forbid the lady would give any actually useful information on her blog. Below, I'll post the comment I left on her blog (as insurance she won't erase my comments, as she's done in the past):

That Galeries Lafayette promo was from the 5th to the 29th of April. You posted a blog item about it on May 9. In other words, it's been over for 10 days and you're only posting about it a professional journalist writing on the LAT's site?

Here's a link to a blog that's a little more current. Eric, blogging at Paris Daily Photo, posted an entry, complete with a photo of the dates of the promotion, on April 21.

Jeez, when I blog, I worry about being a day late with information. And for those out there who don't know how easy it is to post on a blog, I can have an entry of this size (meaning the size of Spano's) written in about three minutes and live on the Internet at about five. Then again, I like to take a little extra time to see that the piece is entertaining and has news value.

Do you understand at all the nature of blogs? Or the nature of news? I mean, back in Marie Antoinette's day, it made sense if people heard about stuff 10 days after it happened. But, in 2006? If I knew what sound dinosaurs made, I'd make it now.

P.S. On a content note: "Judging strictly from the windows"? Now, since you're writing on the Web site of an American paper, and there's a good chance your readers are mostly in America, why not put a photo of the windows in your post?

Also, as for what "the French must think" in putting up windows like that -- if you knew them at all, you'd probably suspect they were poking a bit of fun at Los Angeles. Again, here you are a journalist, a professional journalist, and these things do not occur to you?

As for how people in LA really dress, the French cartoon of 80s West Ho is much more fun than the reality: everybody running around in sweat pants, looking like they're about to spend the day cleaning out the garage.

Posted by aalkon at May 11, 2006 1:03 PM

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So, let me get this right: Spano writes for the LAT. There is a major retrospective of L.A. art in Paris that opened over 2 months ago (where the entire L.A. art world went btw), but she hasn't seen it yet. She prefers to report on the window of a past promo at the Galeries Lafayette. Woaw.

What does Spano do with her days in Paris, apart from contributing to the myth of the ugly, shallow American? Shame on her. What floors me is that the LAT keeps her on board. Tells you about the paper's quality, I guess.

Posted by: Frog in L.A. at May 11, 2006 9:45 AM

Touché encore, Amy. I love that L.A. Observed jumped on the Spano-bashing bandwagon. I too feel like I have an obligation to blog promptly when I attend an event -- guess she doesn't feel that kind of urgency, since the travel section isn't exactly breaking news. And if it's true she hasn't seen that L.A. art show yet, then that's pathetic.

Posted by: Pat Saperstein at May 11, 2006 10:54 AM

I know. I mean, hellooo? Los Angeles readership, anyone? I'd forgotten about that show because I was last there in February, and because I write about Paris for fun, not for my job. But, if I were paid to write for an LA readership from Paris, and living there, to boot, you'd better believe I'd be the first in line at Georges Pompidou on day one.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2006 11:09 AM

More on the show here.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2006 11:12 AM

Much as I agree with you, Spano-shots are too easy. She moved there, and the Times bean-counters it was easier to throw her a bone than to hire someone else to not report.

Posted by: KateCoe at May 11, 2006 5:56 PM

I'm with you on it being too easy. I stopped reading her long ago because of that (combined with the fact that she's neither insightful or amusing). This one was on a tip from a friend in Paris.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 11, 2006 7:17 PM

True: it's easy to pick on la Spano -- easy and boring, for lack of an inspiring subject. But it's so sad to have her post lame reports for the LAT, when there are so many interesting things to say about Paris, and so many expats there who have interesting things to say. What a waste...

Posted by: Frog in L.A. at May 11, 2006 8:03 PM

So why does Spano still have the job? Or how did she even get it? Surely the LAT editors can get blowjobs anywhere in this town. Why her?

Posted by: Lena at May 11, 2006 9:06 PM

>> Why her?

The rumour is that, après-divorce, she was just inspired to move to Paris for good. And further inspired to go to her editor and say "It doesn't have to mean I stop writing for the section, does it?"

That's not fact, merely rumour. And I doubt that a blow-job was involved.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 12, 2006 6:38 AM

That's the problem. They never say, "No, please don't write for us," well...except to me. (To be fair, that's only the features section.) Too many dailies keep the dinosaurs around for far too long, thinking they won't upset the readers quite so much. Blogs are changing that. Suddenly, it's much easier for the readers to say, "Hey, you SUCK!" Apparently, Spano's editors don't give a crap. There are a number of Americans I know in Paris --interesting, curious, amusing people -- who, if given this assignment, would turn it into something exciting to read. La Coquette, for example.

She tends to write about fashion and shoes on her blog, but she could do this Postcards From Paris thing really well, if it were assigned to her. Jason Stone, who used to blog from Paris, and who probably could have stayed there if he'd gotten this assignment, would have been great, too. There are others, too, but no, let's give the assignment to somebody who has all the curiosity and eagerness to investigate of one of my floorboards.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 12, 2006 7:46 AM

"Lala Land." As amusing as it is original. Wait'll she coins "Hollyweird."

Posted by: Todd Everett at May 13, 2006 10:54 PM

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