If you didn’t catch it, LEO’s renowned “Culture Maven” — C.D. Kaplan — will no longer grace the pages of LEO. Kaplan’s last regular column appeared last week, and Kaplan used it to explain his new role at the alternative weekly, where he’s held forth on various local topics for at least a decade.
Kaplan’s colorful language won’t be totally gone from LEO. He says he’s doing a regular “featurette” that he compared to his work for Emazing, that dot-com era company that used to send you e-mails every day noting stuff like important birthdays. And Kaplan’s regular Tuesday appearances on WFPK reviewing movies will continue. And he’s still going to do his Seedy K rumor bit at the paper.
The Culture Maven told me he’s got some new projects up his sleeve, but isn’t ready to elaborate on them. He said the end of his LEO column wasn’t his decision, and LEO editor Cary Stemle explained it was simply a part of an ongoing evolution of content at the newspaper.
Stemle said it’s a difficult decision to cut a column, especially with someone like Kaplan. “He’s been writing his column for many years, and as LEO continues trying to publish a great paper, we’ve decided to use the space in some other new ways,” he said. “Our focus is on telling great stories. That’s not to say CD is in any way directly related to that statement, it’s just that pages and resources are tight and finite, and we have to make difficult choices.”
LEO is an important part of Louisville, and I think Stemle is right to re-think its content. But the bottom line is that LEO’s biggest problem has been its failure to embrace technology. Its Web site is woefully inadequate, in that it lacks original content. There’s no audio, no video, no photo galleries. It doesn’t send out e-mail alerts and doesn’t proactively attract readers. Its blog, launched last November, is not getting attention, and still hasn’t featured a paid ad.
It simply re-publishes content from the paper, and thus, it just ain’t keeping up. Until LEO puts some time, money and effort into its online product, I can’t see a promising future.