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Monday, August 4, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My pal and now ex-L.A.Times reporter Bill Lobdell has taken he paper’s buyout.

He’s started two blogs, and

Bill’s got a lot of irons in the fire, including a new book coming out in early ’09, Losing My Religion, from Collins, on the effect on his faith of covering religion for the Times for years (including the abuse scandals of the Catholic Church and the fund-raising practices of televangelists.)

The first post at LobdellsOC is a run-down of all of the factors overwhelming the Times, forcing it further and further into irrelevance despite its near monopoly position.

One of the obvious reasons Lobdell leaves unnoted, no doubt out of modesty, is that the paper did not seek, above all, to retain and promote its best talent. Mediocrity endures in many of the paper’s highest profile assignments, and the very best folks have now fled the scene.

Advertising dollars will continue to bleed away from all but the sports and entertainment sections. The deep ideological bias to the hard left remains in place, and as Lobdell notes, there’s a grand total of one must-read blog, Top of the Ticket. Cue up the funeral march.

Bill says he’s out of the newspaper business, but any of the national brands —, etc– would be crazy not to take a run at him.

The byline has long been the brand, even though the Times never figured it out. Bill’s got one of those bylines that smart readers look for.

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