In a message this morning, Geoff Boucher writes on Facebook: "Thanks everyone for your thoughts and words and sentiments. It is very strange and sad to leave the paper after 21 years but it is completely my choice. I'm going to gamble and bet on myself and what I've learned over these past few years with the Hero Complex success. As a friend of mine in Metropolis says, you can't fly until you take a leap..." His post has gotten 246 likes and 90 comments in the first three hours, including from colleagues such as David Ulin, Hector Tobar and James Rainey.
Boucher's departure from the Los Angeles Times Calendar staff became effective on Monday. He has not publicly addressed any reasons for leaving or complaints about the paper, and if he got any kind of severance or buyout he's not likely to: those payments at the Times typically come with a non-disparagement clause.
Here's the background.
* 4 p.m. update: Editor Davan Maharaj calls a Friday afternoon send-off for Boucher, and says in a note to the newsroom that the Hero Complex blog will remain with the Times:
For 21 years, Geoff Boucher has distinguished himself as a writer and digital innovator at the Los Angeles Times. It will be a bittersweet moment Friday afternoon when we gather to say goodbye as Geoff begins a new chapter in his career, outside of journalism.
Geoff arrived at the paper in 1991 as a 21-year-old intern for the Orange County Edition. He immediately won people over with his energy and imagination. I, too, was a young reporter in Costa Mesa in those days, and I became a friend and admirer. He reported on crime, transportation and politics, and was part of the paper's campaign-trail coverage team during the 2000 presidential election. Geoff eventually made the move to Calendar, where his byline became associated with outstanding profiles including the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steven Spielberg, Beyonce, Bono and Johnny Depp.
Geoff created the Hero Complex blog in 2008 to report on the intersection between Hollywood and comic books, sci-fi and fantasy. The site has become and will remain an important part of latimes.com. It spawned a film festival, a screening series, a special-edition magazine and an online show. Geoff saw the power of the Los Angeles Times platform to reach a new generation of fans and tell stories in a different way. He’s been a model for others.
He has been busy this week working on some final stories, including an interview with Clint Eastwood (minus the chair). Let’s gather on the second floor at 3 p.m. Friday to celebrate Geoff’s contributions—among them, 2,867 print bylines in 21 years – and wish him the best in his new venture.