Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Tribune Moves Out of Its Landmark Tower

The cuts by the MediaNews Group are felt again, although this was probably a long time in the making. The Oakland Tribune is moving from its landmark tower in downtown Oakland to a much more innocuous building near the Oracle Areana, McAfee Coliseum, and the airport, which hasn't yet garnered a corporate sponsor.

The Tribune has had a presence in downtown Oakland since 1874, except for an eight-year hiatus after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

I always liked the Tribune Tower. It's funky and worn down, but authentic. Downtown Oakland feels the same way, although it has acquired a bit more gloss in recent years. Somehow the move feels fitting, though. Dean Singleton swooped in to buy most of the region's newspapers and he is blending them into a homogenous product. Leaving the tower is another step toward a monopoly.

The New York Times has an article today on the publishing business, which is run in a completely different manner than any other business. It's about the mystery of a bestseller: why some books catch fire and others don't. The overall message, though, is that the publishing industry just buys lots of manuscripts, publishes them, and hopes some stick.

There's been a lot of ink recently of the virtue of book review sections compared to literary blogs. They seem like two different things to me, and I don't really understand the fuss. The book review sections have a gravitas that litblogs don't, and lit blogs are more creative and nimble in their coverage of the book industry and new authors. Both types of conversation are important, although this one seems to have devolved into the establishment vs. the upstarts.

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting take on the debate.

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