"What in the world are you people doing?" asked Jim Schupp of Los Feliz.
Readers reacted in the extreme to the "Through Prison Glass" series, a highly detailed examination of a hardened criminal, his crimes and his decades-long relationship with an intelligent, accomplished woman. Readers who followed the three-part series wondered what would happen to the couple and why she stayed in love with him. Readers who didn't follow the story had their own questions: Is The Times a place for storytelling? Was this a story worth telling, and did it belong on Page A1?
In all, more than 200 readers praised the storytelling; some 100 others complained about The Times' publishing what many called a "human-interest" story on the front page (on Nov. 30, Dec. 2 and Dec. 4). Both sets of readers had one thing in common: Many called themselves longtime readers and subscribers.
Three editors -- two who oversee choices for the front page, and one who edited the series -- responded to the readers' concerns.
"Well-written character studies of unusual people have been part of the fabric of the L.A. Times for 40 years. We realize that not all of them will appeal to all readers, but this one did strike a chord with many," said Craig Turner, weekend editor. And from Executive Editor John Arthur: “We present these stories as significant parts of the front page because they are beautifully written and tend to involve readers."
More from readers, editors and the reporter follows.