At the recent Digital Hollywood I was struck by Los Angeles Times entertainment honcho Sallie Hofmeister’s description of what her paper is doing. The good news, for those of us who cover Hollywood, is that the LAT is now so online-focused (after years of avoidance behavior) that they have decided to BEEF UP the entertainment coverage (in the face of other layoffs). That is because they are going after online traffic. As we all know, celebs and red carpets and Twilight and Superman bring eyeballs. Hofmeister said that their strategy is to lure younger readers –the future for all newspapers that wish to survive–with pop candy. She also made a point of the success of Geoff Boucher’s most excellent Hero Complex blog. He’s very good and gets the internet. But clearly, sci-fi/genre/comic stories draw big audiences online as in movie theaters. That’s why the studios and indies and everyone else are chasing genre movies.
I understand the logic behind hiring Steven Zeitchik from The Hollywood Reporter (even if he did inherit my blog!). It’s all about breaking news. That’s also why they’re hiring Amy Kaufman, a junior player from The Wrap. Everyone is obsessed with traffic. And fast-breaking news–as Nikki Finke has proved— is the way to get it.
There’s life left in journalism yet: LA Weekly editor Drex Heikes and his arts editor Tom Christie are looking to replace Scott Foundas, who left for a programming gig at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. They have an opportunity to cull through the best film critics in the country and anoint a powerful new voice. Exciting. Who will it be? Glenn Kenny? Dennis Lim? Nathan Lee? Karina Longworth? Melissa Anderson? Who do you think should get the job?
The other job being advertised is Zeitchik’s staff reporter/blogger gig at THR. But god knows what will happen there, as Lachlan Murdoch and his team take over Nielsen. Clearly, Zeitchik saw the LAT as a more stable platform than where he was.