Maharaj: ‘The will to change’

By James Williams | Staff Writer

CAPTION

THE TIMES: Davan Maharaj; the editor and executive vice president of the Los Angeles Times Media group, gave the 45th annual Hay Press-Enterprise Lecture on future digital media at UC Riverside in the University Theatre on Feb. 4.

Luis Solis / Photo Editor

Los Angeles Times Editor in Chief Davan Maharaj gave the 45th Hays Press-Enterprise lecture on Feb. 4 to address the state of journalism.

Maharaj’s lecture concluded the first of four days of the UC Riverside’s 36th annual Writers Week.

Writers Week is the longest running free event in Southern California that is devoted to writers and their writing.

Throughout the week, the public was able to attend the event and listen to a number of speakers, who have careers as poets, novelists and journalists.

During Maharaj’s lecture, he spoke about ways in which the LA Times continues to bring the news to its readership.

He showed the attendees a three minute time-lapse video made by the LA Times staff on the historic travel of the Space Shuttle Endeavour through Los Angeles to the California Science Center.

Many of the major newspapers also have applications that deliver news stories and content to mobile devices.

The LA Times looks to set itself a part by the number of other apps it has to offer.

Maharaj mentioned the number of applications that the LA Times has to offer for both phones and tablets, such as the original Los Angeles Times news app, and the Hollywood Star Walk app.

The star walk app is an example of the company showcasing one of the biggest landmarks in the area by giving a virtual tour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and
information on the people honored on it.

“Quality journalism is something that is valuable,” Maharaj said. “We should do all we can to keep doing it.”

Maharaj also told a story about his first time writing an article and because of the lack of a computer or e-mail during that period, he had to hire a taxi to deliver a copy of his story to the main office of the newspaper he worked for so that it could be published.

After his story, he explained the mind set of the LA Times for the future when it comes to the actual newspaper.

“I think the paper will get more and more digital, and the company has made a commitment to try to preserve print for as long as it can because a lot of the revenues are coming from print right now,” Maharaj said.

Among those in the crowd listening to Maharaj, was UC Riverside trustee Harkeerat Dhillon and his wife, Deepta Dhillon.

“What I really found interesting was that I thought with all the technology and the Internet, that we would in fact be attracting a younger crowd to actually read
the paper online,” Deepta Dhillon said. “I was surprised to hear that it is still the same age group (as print readers).”

Deepta Dhillon is among the readers, who now look toward the Internet as a place to find her news.

“I usually see (news) online when I go onto the Internet,” she said. “I occasionally read the LA Times but The Press-Enterprise only for local news.”

Kevin McCarthy, president and CEO of United Way of the Inland Valleys, was able to relate a lot of what Maharaj said to more than just journalism.

“I thought Davan’s content was very insightful,” McCarthy said. “It illustrates the need, for not only journalism, but for all forms of business models relevant to conditions in the marketplace and to what customers want and need.”

During his lecture, Maharaj also spoke about how technology is changing the world of journalism and how it has pushed the boundaries of press deadlines to the here and now but will not allow that to affect the quality of journalism he expects his company to produce.

“Digital journalism allows us to reach more readers than ever,” Maharaj said.

He also believes that journalist should not “sacrifice speed for
accuracy.”