For as long as I’ve lived in San Francisco — over two decades now — I’ve lived with laments over the sorry state of local newspapers. Living in a large Victorian shared among Berkeley graduate students many years ago, I grew accustomed to a daily house copy of one of the Timeses (i.e., either the New York or L.A. varietals) for serious news reading. The SF Chronicle, on the other hand, was always relegated to local movie times and for lining bird cages.

And yes, Cognoscenti even uses beans familiar to the locals around SFFast forward to today, and my how those once-greats have fallen. The New York Times may have performed a bit of peacock strutting last year, proclaiming, “No, New York City coffee is good. We really, really mean it this time!” But the NY Times can be forgiven compared to the sloth-like L.A. Times, who came out with this special feature just today, in freaking 2011: More refined coffee culture in L.A. is percolating – latimes.com. This more than a year after L.A.-area baristas — after cleaning up on so many awards at the regional and national barista championships — decided to quit the competition program to give someone else a try for a change.

This is akin to a 1961 L.A. Times article proclaiming that quality baseball has arrived in town — merely two seasons after the L.A. Dodgers had already won the World Series. Even so, the L.A. Times does add some useful listings of regional coffeeshops worth checking out: Specialty coffeeshops in the L.A. area – latimes.com. Plus the obligatory coffee map.

Just please don’t call ‘em “craft”.