Sunday, June 20, 2021

L.A. TIMES‘S ASST. ARTS EDITOR ASKS, “WHAT IS NEWS?”

December 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Only weeks after the Tribune Co. saw the departure of former radio consultant Lee Abrams, whose seemingly stream-of-consciousness memos to the company’s staff were widely lampooned by entertainment industry columnists and bloggers, the website LAObserved.com has posted a memo from Sallie Hofmeister, the Los Angeles Times‘s recently appointed assistant managing editor for arts and entertainment, headed “What Is News?” It urges staff writers on the Times‘s Company Town blog to be more “surprising or interesting” in their coverage of events affecting the industry even if those events aren’t particularly interesting themselves. The purpose, she suggested, was to allow readers “to sound smart in a meeting or cocktail party.” Kevin Roderick, who runs the LAObserved site, commented, “Um, instead of reporters ginning up an angle to make the blog seem fresh or edgy, how about more actual scoops?” And Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke, referring to the memo, called Hofmeister “incredibly mediocre,” and asked, “Isn’t it swell to be so trivialized, Hollywood?” She added: “By the way, several current LA Times entertainment beat staffers have approached Deadline about jobs recently. They don’t want to work anymore for Silly Sally.”