Not too many shrinking media outlets have the chutzpah to hire a few days after laying off people, but the new Los Angeles Times isn't shy about announcing its changing priorities. Last week it was the last science writer and half the book staff being axed, along with the only outdoor recreation writer in sports (all departed at the same time as arts writer Suzanne Muchnic, who retired.) But this is a new week, and today the staff was told there's a new pop culture and TV editor, adding to the large pod already devoted to coverage of television. Joy Press comes from Salon.com and lives in New York, but the memo says she'll be moving to L.A. in the spring. Memo is after the jump.
Plus: The Times also added a new American Idol blogger last week. Shirley Halperin, an entertainment journalist, blogged about Idol for Billboard.com. She is also, somewhat famously, the co-author of Pot Culture: The A-Z Guide to Stoner Language and Life. And the holder of a medical marijuana prescription, apparently.
Memo on Press follows:
To: The Staff
From: Sallie Hofmeister, assistant managing editor, arts and entertainment
Craig Turner, arts and entertainment editor
Joy Press, who has had a distinguished career as a writer and editor on cultural and entertainment topics such as television, books, music, movies and art, will join the entertainment group as pop culture and deputy television editor in the new year.
Joy will be in charge of developing and expanding our coverage of pop culture. Los Angeles is the nexus of the pop culture universe, where celebrity intersects and often collides with commerce, media and fandom.
A group of reporters will be assigned to work with Joy in exploring this facet of Southern California life. In her capacity as pop culture editor, Joy will report to Craig Turner, arts and entertainment editor.
In her role as deputy television editor, Joy will report to Television Editor Martin Miller and assist him in producing a report that takes us behind the scenes of the medium, measures its impact on our society and the global economy and builds communities of interest on our website around key shows. Our TV staff, already one of the best in the business, can only improve with the addition of Joy's experience, insight and creativity.
Joy has worked on both the Web and in print, along with a short stint in book publishing at the beginning of her career. Most recently, she was culture editor at Salon.com for more than two years, supervising a staff of 10 and developing a variety of blogs, reviews and features for the website. Before that, she worked at the Village Voice as arts and culture editor, overseeing all of the weekly's coverage in those areas. She had previous assignments there as television critic, book critic and editor of the Voice Literary Supplement.
She started her writing life as a rock critic at Melody Maker and as a contributing editor at Spin Magazine. Joy is the coauthor, with her husband, Simon Reynolds, a British rock critic, of "The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion and Rock 'n' Roll," published by Harvard University Press in 1995.
She and Simon have two children and an apartment in the East Village. She will join the staff Jan. 4 and split her time between Los Angeles and our New York bureau until school ends in the spring, when her family will move permanently to L.A..