L.A. Times adds two film writers

Rebecca Keegan and Nicole Sperling are joining the L.A. Times movie staff, writing for print and online. Keegan, currently freelancing, is a former Hollywood correspondent for Time and is married to writer-director Marty Keegan. Sperling comes over from Entertainment Weekly. The morning's memo from assistant managing editor Sallie Hofmeister is after the jump. Meanwhile, two former LAT writers who were laid-off in the past couple of years' cost-cutting, Scott Martelle and Scott Timberg, have blogged separately about how tough it is out there post-layoff. And yes, there is chagrin in the journo world about the Times basically exchanging good people for lower-paid good people.

Further media note: Elina Shatkin, laid off last year by the LAT, has been named the #2 restaurant critic at the LA Weekly.

Hofmeister memo:

To: The Staff
From: Sallie Hofmeister, assistant managing editor, arts and entertainment
Craig Turner, arts and entertainment editor

We're delighted to announce that two reporters distinguished for their coverage of the film industry, Rebecca Keegan and Nicole Sperling, will join The Times' movie group on Nov. 1. Covering the movies is a cornerstone of The Times' entertainment mission, and these two accomplished reporters will strengthen our already formidable movie team.

Nicole and Rebecca will both write news and features for the front page, the Sunday and daily Calendar sections, The Envelope, and our 24 Frames, Hero Complex and new Envelope awards blog, Awards Tracker. They will report to film editor Julie Makinen.

A dogged reporter who is well sourced and highly regarded in Hollywood, Nicole comes to us from Entertainment Weekly, where she writes cover stories, profiles, trend pieces, blog posts and co-authors the "Hollywood Insider" column. During more than three years as a senior writer at EW, Nicole broke numerous stories, including David Fincher's involvement in "The Social Network" and Franklin Leonard's annual Black List of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood. She's also made regular appearances on CNN, E! Entertainment Television and NPR.

At The Times, Nicole will become the lead reporter on the Oscars beat, covering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the film festival circuit, nominations, marketing campaigns and behind-the-scenes jockeying leading up to the big day. She will be a signature writer for The Envelope and will anchor Awards Tracker, which will focus on coverage of the Oscars and Golden Globes races and on the smaller film awards, as well as the Emmys, Tonys and Grammys. She will work closely with online arts and entertainment editor Lisa Fung and The Envelope editor Elena Howe.

Before joining Entertainment Weekly, Nicole was a reporter and editor at the Hollywood Reporter covering movies. She also has worked at Red Herring magazine and Ziff-Davis Publishing.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara in English and psychology, Nicole lives in Encino with her husband, Jason, a group creative director at RPA Advertising, and their three children, Hannah, Will and Natalie.

Rebecca will be a general assignment movie reporter. She is the author of the 2009 book "The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron," described by a certain Hero Complex blogger as "an honest, fascinating glimpse into the mind and history of Cameron." Besides immersing herself in CameronWorld (and tracking down and interviewing three of his five wives), Rebecca was a Time magazine correspondent for 10 years. That included four years as the magazine's Hollywood correspondent, writing movie star profiles, trend pieces and covering the Academy Awards and the Sundance Film Festival. She also wrote Time's "People" page of celebrity news and spent four years as a hard-news reporter, which included covering the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church.

Rebecca most recently has been writing freelance movie articles and commentary for, among others, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Cosmopolitan, CNN, NPR and the Harvard Business Review. She was a leading Oscar blogger last year for She also has worked behind the camera: In 2008 she produced "Verboten," a 15-minute thriller that opened the L.A. International Shorts Festival.

A journalism graduate of Northwestern University, Rebecca lives in Beverly Hills with her husband, writer-director Marty Keegan.

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