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Food's New Look

November 11, 1998

The Calendar section? All right. The former Life & Style section? OK. But seeing the venerable Food section redesigned jarred me out of complacency.

I write to complain about the new design only because I enjoy your section so much. The simple yet scintillating recipes are still there, but the elegance of the former design is lost. The headline font is weak; the subhead font is blocky; and the body text is difficult to read.

All week the feature sections have jarred me, because they have made the L.A. Times look unsettlingly like every other regional paper in America. The Times may be trying to compete with such papers as the Orange County Register, but looking just like them (or, for that matter, including an excess of lifestyle stories) is not the way to go. The Times should aspire to higher goals and journalistic practices, lest it risk losing its position as the highest quality paper on the West Coast.

I know I am fighting a losing battle, since "reader friendliness" in design and content appears to be the trend of the decade. But tradition--and I'm only 23 years old--should count for something, and in the new design, I see little but emulation of current fads.

SARAH SCHAFFER

Sherman Oaks

*

You realize, of course, you already revised the Food Section a year ago, moving the day and changing the format. The Food Section continued to get shorter this year--and now you've "L.A. Times'd" it by adding an insipid column where a famous person tells what they ate. Who cares?

I personally don't care what the famous read, eat, where they buy real estate or what they did for the weekend. How important is it this week that a writer just went to Koo Koo Roo? By creating more of the columns you just continue the portrayal of our city as a bunch of cretins obsessed with the rich and famous.

It's time to leave good enough alone and strengthen what you do best, tell the news and have writers create interesting and evocative columns. The Food Section included.

TIM DONNELLY

Los Feliz

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