Patrick Goldstein is leaving the LA Times after reportedly taking a buyout. After twelve years, his last column ran today. I’m sorry to see him go. But I have a confession to make. I had stopped reading Goldstein. I wasn’t avoiding him. There was a time when I read the weekly The Big Picture column religiously, looked forward to it: good, bad or ugly. Goldstein had cronies in the industry who he’d write about, year in, year out, and protect, and serve. This happens to all of us, after a while, to one degree or another. THR’s Kim Masters said it best when she left L.A. for a period for a gig at The Washington Post: “I made too many friends and too many enemies.”
So what happened? Entertainment news and the way we consume it changed. My print subscription to the LATimes runs Thursday to Sunday–the minimum I need to get online access 24/7. So the rest of the time I read the LAT online and when a Goldstein column hit Twitter or Facebook or my email, I read it. Otherwise it didn’t register. People don’t tend to go looking for things anymore. They grab what’s coming in. I didn’t go searching for his blog. I had no idea Goldstein had a Twitter account. He finally started @patrickbigpix last April, and his tweets were good–but he tweeted twice a day, if that: 189 tweets in total. He had 320 followers.
The thing is, he was a print guy who didn’t adapt to the new world where you have to constantly reach out and engage your readers, build your fanbase, keep the news coming. I’m not saying that’s what he should have done. It’s probably how he could have survived though, because working on salary at a newspaper today means earning your bacon, making your bosses feel they’re getting their money’s worth, even when they’re selling Oscar ads against you. The LAT’s Geoff Boucher is the new model entertainment writer, constantly creating and repurposing and sending out new material online, via his Hero Complex blog.
Long thoughtful columns are something I like to write too, and I miss doing them more often. Adapt or die.