Readers respond to demise of Bridge column
Many readers were disappointed to see this note on the front of the Calendar section Monday morning: "The Bridge column has been discontinued. Ask Amy will take its place on the comics pages."
By noon Monday, 60 readers had called the Readers' Rep office, and 31 had e-mailed to protest the change.
Sallie Hofmeister, assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment, explained the decision. "A recent survey indicates that only 3% of our subscribers read the column every day, and that 89% never look at it," she said.
Moving the Ask Amy column to the spot where Bridge used to be “frees up space for news and features” elsewhere in the Calendar section, Hofmeister said.
John Blowitz of Indian Wells was among those who wrote in. "Perhaps us avid column readers are not your most desirable demographic, and perhaps your surveys showed that there weren't enough of us compared, say, to 'Bizarro' aficionados, but we are loyal, Frank Stewart Bridge column, L.A. Times readers nonetheless. Please reconsider," he said, adding: "P.S. And I love 'Bizarro,' too."
Ann Cressman of Laguna Niguel also hoped editors would reconsider the decision. "I cannot believe you are discontinuing the Bridge column. Bridge is a wonderful card game. It improves memory and concentration," she wrote.
Several readers, including Carl J. Anderson of Simi Valley, mentioned the earlier loss of Bridge on Sundays. "I was more than disappointed when the Times discontinued the Bridge column in the Sunday Times," Anderson wrote, "but to delete it all together is unforgiving!"
Readers often wonder why something else can't be cut instead of a feature that they like. " 'The Bridge column has been discontinued' -- and yet you continue Sudoku. Is the L.A. Times out of its mind?" asked D.B. Prell of Palm Springs.
Still others, including Harriet Himmelstein of Laguna Woods, explained their enjoyment of the column. "I have breakfasted every day for many years with the L.A. Times Bridge column and the comics (well, most of the comics)," Himmelstein said. "This respite from the world and local news before the daily grind is a great comfort. Please, bring it back."
-- Deirdre Edgar