Contrary to popular newsroom belief, economic outlook sections are not an editor’s way of filling space during the slow holiday stretch between Christmas and New Year’s Day. They represent a benchmark of sorts, both in terms of the overall economy and specific industry sectors.
Last year, our lead headline turned out to be right on the money: “L.A.’s Hottest Trend: Prosperity/An Economy Beyond Show Biz.” For 1998, concerns over Asia, Wall Street and U.S. corporate profits make the economic picture more uncertain, as laid out by staff reporter Howard Fine in his front-page story.
It’s these uncertain years that drive us bananas especially since we know that as a “keeper,” these outlook sections will be referred to for weeks or months down the road. It’s particularly dicey when looking at trends; after all, popular culture can be a fickle thing.
Which is a slippery way of saying I haven’t the foggiest notion whether Pamela Lee will, in fact, be “in” this year or whether her husband, Tommy Lee, will be out (page 10). But I do have a staff that tracks these developments (along with more substantive issues, of course) and they insist it is so.
A year from now, we’ll see.