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from The Times' Opinion staff

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Now that we have your attention...

March 24, 2007 | 10:09 am

Our former editor's Daffy Duck routine has brought with it one benefit: We've been getting some better-than-usual traffic on this blog. So while we still have some eyeballs on us, I'd like to let all-y'all know about the many fabtrabulous new features we've been introducing at Opinion L.A. We have rolled out a variety of new online-only features, which we hope will begin to bridge the gap between "print" stuff and "online" stuff as the newsprint medium continues to wither and these here internets allow for even more and better news coverage.

You can start with our few-months-old Opinion Daily, a column that comes out each weekday, written by alternating members of the editorial board. Recent dailies of interest include Michael McGough's disambiguation of the political bedfellows in the Bong Hits For Jesus case; Andrés Martinez' moving tribute to Hal Rothman; Robert Greene's fascinating study of the future of direct democracy in the cellphone-voting age; and Sonni Efron's defense of economic sanctions.

Straight outta 1995, we've also brought online chat roaring back to life. Dig our recent chats with columnist Rosa Brooks and assistant editor Matt Welch, as well as the SRO blowout with columnist Jonah Goldberg. Look for more of the Opinion L.A. Chat in the weeks to come. 

Dust-up is our almost-newest feature, a weeklong debate between experts, wonks, politicians, blowhards and other luminaries, on topics in the news and/or in our region. This week's dust-up focused on best ways to solve L.A.'s traffic crisis. In recent weeks, we've had debaters go at it on performance-enhancing drugs in sports; the Scooter Libby trial; and Gov. Schwarzenegger's health care initiative.

That health-care debate, by the way, brought a spirited rejoinder from Pacific Research Institute's John R. Graham, which we were happy to run.  This brings us to yet another exciting new feature: Blowback, an opportunity for concerned readers to publish oped-length rebuttals to features that have appeared in the Times. Recent responses have come from the Venezuelan ambassador, a senior State Department official, and others. (Sorry, I just realized as I'm typing this that we don't have a Blowback archive: Will get to that asap!)

In old-fashioned "push" media, we'll be rolling out a daily email newsletter, within the next week I hope, that will keep you informed of what new stuff we've got going on at Opinion L.A.—including old media stuff, new media stuff, and an exciting blend of the two. Signup instructions will show up in this blog and at the Opinion front page, but if you'd like to get in early, email us at opinionla@latimes.com, and we'll set you up.

And of course, we still have all the old print stalwarts: editorials (those unsigned thingees that run on the left page of the print version and speak—more or less—for the board as an institution); opeds (signed columns written by people from oustide the Times opinion section); letters from our readers; the Sunday Current section; and our murderers' row of regular columnists.

I'd like to thank Andrés Martinez for his steadfast and enthusiastic support in guiding our new features and innovations through a work environment where change is frequently less than welcome. If not for Andrés, you would be looking at a much smaller catalogue of new features. I wish him the best, and hope that we can continue his ambition of making maximum use of new media to produce a better and more exciting Los Angeles Times. *

* I made a change to this last graf to eliminate some accurate but stylistically extraneous material. For the original version, see L.A. Observed and Patterico.

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