Editorial pages / Obsolete
“What happens to the institutional voice?” asks Jack Nelson, former Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. He is complaining about my friend and former boss Michael Kinsley’s plan to have outsiders write some of the L.A. Times’ editorials. It’s a question best put in the past tense. The institutional voice of the Los Angeles Times was always something of a fiction. Whose opinions were these, anyway? A small team of editorialists couldn’t possibly represent the views of something as sprawling as a large newspaper staff; and anyway, convention dictated that said staff wasn’t supposed to have (or at least express) views at all. During my six years as a reporter in the Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau, my opinions were nearly always in opposition to the line laid down by the Journal’s conservative editorial page, and the same held for most of the other reporters I knew, too.