Quote in context:
Thanks to family connections, Chandler ended up in control of the Los Angeles Times in 1960. The paper he inherited was parochial and conservative, reflecting the city it served. Chandler jettisoned the anti-union dogma and set about building a west-coast rival to the New York Times. His paper was heavy on foreign news and serious, objective reporting. The result was hugely impressive—but not, as it turned out, suited to the internet era. In the past few years the paper has suffered repeated staff cuts. In 2007 it was acquired by a property magnate and in 2008 filed for bankruptcy protection.
The problem with such newspapers is that, although they do much that is excellent, they do little that is distinctive enough for people to pay for it. The Los Angeles Times’s foreign reporting is extremely good. But it is hard to argue that it is better than the stuff supplied by the New York Times or foreign papers—sources to which the residents of Los Angeles now have unfettered, largely free access via their laptops and iPhones. Similarly, it has never been clear why each major newspaper needs its own car reviewer: a Corolla is a Corolla, whether it is driven in Albuquerque or Atlanta. And by extension, it is not clear why presidential candidates or sport teams require huge journalistic entourages. Papers should concentrate on what they do best, which means, in many cases, local news and sport. If the rest is bought in from wire services or national outfits, readers are unlikely to complain—as long as there is enough competition between those larger providers to keep up standards (and thanks to the internet there probably is now). Specialisation generally means higher quality.