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Weather news, Sunday comics changing July 5

Weather

(The map above was used by editors in determining which cities to keep on the weather page.)


The weather page will be streamlined starting Sunday, and there are changes as well to the Sunday comics. Both moves are to being made to save newsprint.

Details on changes to the Sunday comics pages are below.

About the weather pages, graphics department editor Les Dunseith says the news, information and listings that used to take up almost a whole page will now be fit on half a page.

In carrying out the cuts, Dunseith said, a decision was made to keep the focus on California. The lists of temperatures and conditions continues for 73 California cities (four were deleted); cuts were made mostly in the lists of U.S. cities (77 U.S. will be listed, down from 93) and  international cities (37 remain; 43 were dropped).  Some other features, including diving conditions and phases of the moon, were eliminated. (Those and more, of course, can still be found online.)

In choosing what to keep and what to cut, editors consulted census data and researched population trends.

Of the California cities listed, editors looked for overlap with the map that will also show cities and temperatures. The four places that ended up being cut from the page completely (Blythe, Mt. Wilson, Rialto, Santa Rosa) were either small in population or close enough to listed cities that the weather information was essentially the same. Editors kept representative locations where temperature or precipitation extremes are often noted in news stories (Woodland Hills, Barstow, Big Bear Lake, etc.)

To decide which national cities to keep, editors checked a graphic from 2007 (shown above) that showed U.S. regions from which California residents have moved or where Californians’ family members are most likely to have relocated. (The map was based primarily on IRS data.) That’s one reason the list tends to skew a bit toward the West and Northeast, with fewer cities from the Southeast and Upper Midwest.

To choose international cities, editors used census data showing the native countries of SoCal residents, and they tried to retain locations with large local immigrant populations. (That’s one reason a larger percentage of Asian cities than Canadian cities remains.)

Dunseith says the graphics department worked hard for a design that would be elegant and logical: "The ultimate goal was to make the information as helpful and useful for as many people as possible despite the smaller footprint." Readers can send their reactions and suggestions to yyweather@latimes.com.

On the comics front, here’s the word from Assistant Managing Editor Alice Short.

“Starting July 5, The Times will print its Sunday comics and other family-oriented fare in six, rather than eight, pages. This reconfiguration is being done to reduce costs -- in this case, newsprint. Nonetheless, I’m happy to report that Michael Whitley, the Times assistant managing editor for design, has skillfully redesigned the pages in a manner that has allowed us to retain every cartoon except ‘Undertown’ and ‘Stone Soup.’ The Kids’ Reading Room, kids’ book reviews and the kids’ crossword puzzle will continue as well. The daily comics pages will remain the same."

Short says reader comments are welcome at comics@latimes.com.



 

 
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Comments (4)

This may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I've put up with a decline in the quality of news from The Times, I've put up with the wholesale elimination of sections, and the reduction of others. But, the weather page was the one reason I continued to subscribe to The Times. The best weather page in the country (despite the decline even here over the years) just took a sharp turn for the worse. With this reduction, it's enough that I'll help The Times save paper by canceling my subscription. I'll be turning to The New York Times exclusively now for my news, at least in print.

The Sunday paper is hundreds of pages long, and the Times cut out two comic pages to save on newsprint costs? When the Sunday comics are one of the only reasons that many people, including me, still get the paper? I've been disappointed in the quality of the comics since we lost The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, and Opus, but that's not the Times' fault. But cutting down on the comics that remain seems short-sighted. Stone Soup was a new comic that never really got its legs, but Undertown was an interesting diversion that I already miss. I have long justified my getting the Weekend LA Times for the Sunday comics, but I am starting to reconsider that.

As the writer of UNDERTOWN, I can safely say this decision makes me very sad. So much for my hometown paper! Thank you , Peter, for saying you miss my strip ... and I hope you are able to find the book and finish the story.

I have some disagreements with the selection of cities to cut from the temperature tables (I listed those and other points in an e-mail to yyweather@latimes.com).

That aside, my main gripe is the horrid color registration in the Sunday paper. The smaller North America map is difficult enough to read as it is, the bad registation makes it even worse.

Also, someone at the Times needs a lesson on how to scale a graphic so it fits in the allotted space. The cropping was, bluntly speaking, below professional standards, chopping off three-quarters of Alaska and the top half of the word "Anchorage." What really irritates me is to see the problem with the cropping go uncorrected in the Monday paper. Didn't anyone notice?


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