In that spirit, I, too, am going to take the high road.
I have poured uncounted days and weeks of personal time into the Daily Mirror in addition to my regular job as a copy editor. In fact, I didn’t realize how much personal time I was devoting to the blog until I was recently required to start keeping track of it. When people asked me: “When do you sleep?” I used to joke: “It’s like having a second job.” But as I was shocked to discover, it was literally another full-time job.
Naturally, when Henry told me the blog was being killed because of low Web traffic, it was a tough blow. But quite honestly, I think my readers – the “brain trust” – took it even harder than I did. I received a tribute from Jon Weisman on “Dodger Thoughts,” and Stacia of “She Blogged by Night” posted a tribute saying that she was heartbroken. A group of the brain trust even proposed a Daily Mirror lunch that I’ve been meaning to schedule, sometime in late July.
I was given the option of continuing the blog as a personal project and that’s what I have done. As a farewell post, I had planned a rather cynical, gloomy rumination on humanity’s lack of interest in history and how the collapse of civilization as we know it was imminent. Except so many folks told me how much the blog meant to them that I realized I was wrong. It was a bit like being at your own funeral and hearing how much you were liked and respected … even by people you don’t really know.
At first, I had planned to take a sabbatical – I have done a daily history blog for six years, two with the 1947project and four with the Daily Mirror. I figured I had earned a rest.
But my readers were so upset that I couldn’t bear their disappointment.
I’ve set up shop at LADailyMirror.com. One of the advantages of not being under The Times aegis is that the blog is open to outside writers. I’ve already persuaded author and photo archivist Eve Golden to write a weekly obituary roundup and author/archivist Mary Mallory of the brain trust to write about films, and I’ve asked other folks if they would be interested in contributing.
Since this is a new project, I’m starting small, with just a few people and the possibility of expanding later. This is, after all, a pet project now, like building a ferro-cement boat in the backyard – only more fun. And I don’t want to get overwhelmed.
Farther down the road? Well I have always talked about “so many stories and only one Larry Harnisch.” There’s the Lionel Atwill sex scandal and the “Hunchback Killer” of 1941 And a multi-part project on what really happened to the Red Cars. And fight over Chavez Ravine. And the Watts Riots… And World War II.
And then there’s that book about the Black Dahlia that I have been keeping on the back burner.
With all of that in the future, I have no time for bitterness about the past. I’m excited about a new project. I hope you are too.
Before I sign off here, I’d like to thank Aaron Curtiss, who approached me with the idea of doing a blog; Bettie Rinehart, who gave the green light; Tony Pierce and Lindsay Barnett, who offered advice and encouragement; and Dan Gaines, who helped clear the way for my interns. (Shout out to Catriona Lavery, Seda Terzyan, Devon McReynolds, Navid Nonahal and Sarah Jo – you were awesome!) I would especially like to thank Melissa McCoy, who was supportive from the beginning.
The Daily Mirror wouldn’t have been what it was without the contributions of Keith Thursby and Anne Elisabeth Dillon of The Times, and Marion Eisenmann, who shared her splendid artwork with the blog. And copy editing by Dave Bowman and Matt Ballinger. Thanks!
I’d also like to salute my readers.I didn’t realize they were so numerous until they came forward to express their regret that the blog was being killed … and their delight that I’m continuing at LADailyMirror.com.
This incarnation of the Daily Mirror will live on at latimes.com, I’m told. So it will continue to serve as an informal almanac on Los Angeles history, more than 7,600 posts from 2007 to 2011. And check out my new place; I think you’ll like it. We’ve booked Phlange Welder in the Plywood Room.