Good Week for Blogs

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This is Kevin Roderick with LA Observed for KCRW.

This has been another of those weeks in the local news media, where you could feel the rules changing.

Score one for the blogs. Or make it three.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein disclosed that his weekly column that peers behind the curtain in Hollywood will -- from now on -- be a blog.

It will run on the Times website whenever he has something to say, not just on Tuesdays –- which is when his column appears.

Goldstein has been writing for the Times since 1979 -- the last ten years as a film writer. But journalism, he says, is ready for a change –- a big change.

His bosses probably love that attitude. AND the fact that, magically, he's more productive as a daily blogger than he was typing up his thoughts once a week for Calendar.

Yesterday, for example, Goldstein posted three meaty items. The first revealed secrets from the script for Oliver Stone's W, a film that seems to center around the current president Bush and his relationship with his father.

The blog excerpts a snippet of dialogue set in a Houston hotel room the night Bush 41 lost to Bill Clinton. In the scene, 41 weeps as 43 insists that his Poppy was a great President.

Goldstein's second item extolled the ballpark staple Take Me Out to the Ballgame. He calls it the coolest song of summer, and gives us video of Ozzy Osbourne doing the worst rendition ever.

The third item reported on Ben Affleck urging Goldstein to watch last night's Nightline special about the actor's visits to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Showing off one of the advantages of reporting online, Goldstein was able to post Affleck's entire lengthy email.

It's not Pulitzer stuff…or even Webby Award stuff. But that's OK. It's another sign of the old-line media waking up to the power of the online audience for news.

Another LA blog has had an even better couple of weeks.

Patterico's Pontifications is mostly written by Patrick Frey, a homicide prosecutor in the Compton courthouse who, in his off time, has a major ‘jones' for exposing mistakes by the Times.

Patterico is the go-to home for critics who find the Times too liberal and politically correct.

After the Times scoop about federal judge Alex Kozinksi keeping graphic sexual material on his website, Patterico smelled blood.

He scoured the web's dark corners to find and actually look at the material.

His conclusion is that the Times dramatically overstated the kinkiness of Kozinski's online stash.

Most of it was nothing like the salacious image created by the paper's reports, Frey said.

Then came his coup.

Mrs. Kozinski dropped in to praise Patterico and blast the Times. She knew all about the web files and found them harmless. And humorous.

“Alex isn't into porn,” she said. “He's into funny.”

Well, Patterico was the one left smiling.

The other blog winner of the week is Alan Mittelstaedt, who posts at

For a couple of weeks he was pressuring David Nahai, the CEO of the city's Department of Water and Power, to publicly release his own utility bills.

Nahai finally did -- by giving them to the Daily News. The paper's story ignored the previous controversy and gave Nahai credit for voluntarily opening up.

To its credit, the Daily News editorial page jumped in with a mea culpa tipping the paper's hat to Mittelstaedt, the indie blogger.

That's the way it should work.

Blogs, the better ones, are changing the media scene in Los Angeles -- like everywhere. Even with the occasional dishonest actors that go with that, I think we're all better off.

For KCRW, this has been Kevin Roderick with LA Observed.