LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare

academy-museum-sphere.jpgSpherical theater addition under construction at the motion picture academy museum at Wilshire and Fairfax. LA Observed photo.

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The fall of Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein's facade of respectability dissolved completely when he was fired Sunday by the board of his company, which cited new allegations. Earlier in the weekend, his apologist mouthpiece Lisa Bloom left the team, as did his crisis handler Lanny Davis. In the days before that, we were confronted with stories all over the Hollywood media saying they had all known for years, sometimes decades, about Weinstein's preying on women under his power. But nobody reported it authoritatively until the New York Times' Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey got it in the paper last week. Harvey's people tried every tactic to block the story from running. Once it did, with his verbatim statement included, he posted a strategic quasi-apology but vowed to sue the NYT anyway for not giving him more time to respond. (I'll bet that he doesn't waste the time or money.) The HuffPost followed with a story detailing allegations that Weinstein cornered and masturbated in front of TV journalist Lauren Sivan a decade ago.

"The Weinstein Company didn't fire Harvey because they found out he was a sexual predator. They fired him because WE found out," Upworthy's Laurie Stark tweeted sagely. Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, wrote for the HuffPost that "based on my years in the industry and unfortunately, my own personal experience with Harvey Weinstein, I can tell you that I believe every single word..."

How sensitive is this for Hollywood and for liberals more generally? Neither SNL on Saturday nor any late-night TV hosts last week touched the Harvey Weinstein scandal at all. NYT. Journalist Rebecca Traister had a vulgar run-in with Weinstein years ago and it sounds like she was waiting for this day.

Media notes

Big week in the news for Republican senator Bob Corker. First the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee said of the Trump team: "I think Sec. Tillerson, Sec. Mattis and Chief of Staff Kelly are those people that help separate our country from chaos." All the DC reporters nodded that it's what a lot of Republicans inside the White House tell them privately. When Trump tried to besmirch Corker via a Sunday morning Twitter tantrum, Corker smashed back the Trump softball for the win: "It's a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.” This was the end of the week in which it was reported that the Secretary of State refers to Trump as a "moron." Sounds like the serious people in the room are staking out their higher positions for the long run of history.

Brian Stelter at CNN: "Is there any bigger story in politics today than the fitness of the President of the United States?"

White House fake news of the day: VP Mike Pence's "offended" walk out at the Colts game in Indianapolis — ostensibly because the 49ers kneeled for the national anthem — was so pre-planned by the White House that the pool reporters were held in their vehicles during the short time that Pence was in the stadium. Another event staged to trick the fools in the base? Normal people all had to know it was staged. Trump later tweeted that he told Pence to walk out, once again making the VP look like a tool... Pence then left Indiana for a Los Angeles area fundraiser, reportedly at the Beverly Hills home of developer Geoff Palmer. The VP heads to Newport Beach on Monday then to Norcal for more Republican fundraisers... Documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveal "How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled Nazi and White Nationalist Ideas Into The Mainstream."

Reporting by the LA Times brought down a second USC medical school dean last week. The latest dean had sexual harassment baggage in his past... For the LA Weekly's annual Best of LA issue, the paper asked 28 Angelenos of varying fame — including KCRW host Madeleine Brand, Father's Office creator Sang Yoon and Canter's co-owner Dena Stein, to make a recommendation in their neighborhoods... Entertainment Weekly is moving from New York to Los Angeles in March. Editor-in-Chief Henry Goldbaltt will relocate to Los Angeles... The publisher of the Santa Monica Daily Press is looking into putting the free print newspaper into the hands of a local nonprofit that might involve Streetsblog LA founder Damien Newton. "Given the totality of the situation, I’m considering several options for the future of The Daily Press," says Ross Furukawa...
Big changes in the magazine industry
as the battle wages against free digital content, by Matt Garrahan, the FT's former man in Los Angeles... At least 25 journalists globally have been killed so far in 2017, the Committee to Protect Journalists says... A scammer has been posing as editors and senior leadership at the Atlantic and sending fraudulent job offers to unwitting freelancers and job seekers. Read the memo... ProPublica hopes to apply its Pulitzer-winning formula to local news. CJR

Pasadena-based took on a Central Valley lawyer whose tactics to protect growers against complaints by farm workers is to get the workers suddenly deported. The story is by former LA Times investigative reporter Ted Rohrlich.

Winners of the 2017 Online Journalism Awards from the Online News Association.

Interesting times at the Times

latimes-guild-logo.jpgDuring a busy week for news, the union organizing committee in the Los Angeles Times newsroom on Wednesday announced with a note on every desk that it had enough signatures from newsroom staffers to form a guild at the famously non-union paper. The LAT's resistance to newsroom organizing dates back at least to the 1910 bombing of an old Times headquarters. During the final three decades of Chandler family control, the paper generously paid the staff (the white males anyway) and pushed perks like first-class travel at least partly to deter union talk. So the surfacing of an LA Times Guild letter and website prompted stories in the New York Times and LA Weekly.

Not much surprise why the newsroom would go this route. Most staffers have worked without salary raises for years and recently lost all banked vacation time, while job demands have spiked. Numerous rounds of buyouts and layoffs have nudged out older journalists and replaced them with cheaper models. The organizing push got its motivation under the leadership of editor and publisher Davan Maharaj, who many felt was autocratic and disengaged, and who recently was let go by parent company Tronc. Almost nobody I talk to at the Times is happy with the working conditions or confident about the future of their own careers, their bosses or the paper itself. So why not try a union? The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, LA Weekly and, recently, KPCC have newsroom unions.

Tronc is saying all the usual things management says at this phase — that a union would threaten the very existence of the Times and jeopardize everyone's jobs. The guild organizers' website states their case and says "Our mission is to safeguard the future of the Los Angeles Times and its journalists.... We have broad support across every department in the newsroom, in every age, racial and ethnic group. We have built a solid majority in the newsroom, and this majority grows every day." For now, the main organizers are remaining anonymous.

The guild site says that a majority of the newsroom have signed cards in support of the organizing effort. The cards will be submitted to the National Labor Relations Board to trigger an election; if the union move passes, the guild is officially recognized and can negotiate a contract.

Meanwhile, the print editions of the Times last week represented a new low in apparent advertising support. "Picking up the LAT print edition from my driveway these mornings is like visiting an old friend wasting away with an apparently incurable illness," a former senior newsroom figure emailed. "Saturday, the 6-page California section has two display ads and BOTH are house ads. The 10-page sports section on a Saturday with football, hockey and the baseball playoffs in full swing and LA teams engaged in all three has a single display ad. The 6-page Business section has just two ads and the far larger of the pair is, you guessed it, a house ad. The question is: Does this paper still have an advertising staff?"

The former writer and editor was similarly pained by Friday's Dodgers special section: 12 pages with no ads. These sections used to be cash cows.

Good reads about Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock

The gun nut who kiiled 58 people from his suite high up in the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas went to high school in the San Fernando Valley and graduated from Cal State Northridge. Two of the better profiles:

NYT: Las Vegas gunman was a contradiction.

LAT: Las Vegas gunman was a 'laid-back goofball'

Plus Wesley Lowery's story of a shooting victim and rescuer in the Washington Post. And a deep print dive by the LA Times:

Dodgers take 2-0 lead

Dodgers fans had to be a little bit nervous about their team opening the playoffs against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona owned LA in late-season play, but so far so good. The Dodgers won both of the first two games, and while they didn't exactly look dominant, the offense scored runs and the games were thrilling. The best-of-5 series now moves to Arizona, where the Dodgers could clinch and advance as soon as Monday evening.

Before the playoffs, SportsNet LA's Dodgers host Alanna Rizzo was mini-profiled by Kevin Crust in the LAT. Masters in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder... Noted: Dodgers utility player Enrique Hernandez, whose family got out of Puerto Rico on a plane provided by the owner of the Astros, didn't take kindly to Trump's paper-towel throwing stunt.

Media people doing stuff

kurt.streeter-nyt.pngFormer LA Times sports columnist Kurt Streeter (right), recently of ESPN, is joining the New York Times sports staff. "I’m pretty sure that Kurt is the only person on our staff who is a former professional athlete," the editor writes. Streeter competed on the tennis tour and was once ranked #923. He will be joined at the NYT by another new hire, former ESPN NBA expert Marc Stein, an alumnus of the LA Daily News, OC Register and Cal State Fullerton.

LA Times photographer Genaro Molina wrote about shooting his last of many photos of Tom Petty at the rock star's Malibu home a few days before he died last week. "I told Petty about how one of his songs reminded me of how my girlfriend in college was stolen from me by famed rock and roll photographer Jim Marshall. I told Tom that I said to her, 'You sound like that Tom Petty song, So you think you’re going to take her away, with your money and your cocaine. That’s exactly what he did.' Tom started laughing through a smile."... Tom Petty's Los Angeles in the New York Times and the LA Weekly (from 2008).... Related?: Jeff Weiss evaluates The Doors' legacy on the Sunset Strip band's 50th anniversary: "Every generation of eighth-graders is seduced anew by the Doors’ autonomic rebelliousness, grandiosity and epic sweep that encompassed French Symbolist poetry, Bavarian beer-hall stomp, Athenian drama, alluvial Southern blues, Iberian guitar and the occasional indecent exposure charge."

Stephen Randall reflects on his 34 years working for Hugh Hefner at Playboy Magazine... MSNBC correspondent (and LA Observed alumnus) Jacob Soboroff's morning routine when he's at home in Los Angeles... Critic
Besha Rodell
, already back home in Australia, signs off for real: "Feels right that my very last act at LA Weekly is to honor @nnakarestaurant as the best restaurant in Los Angeles."... Caitlin Flanagan investigated a death at a Penn State fraternity for the Atlantic... Matea Gold, the Washington Post national political reporter whose career began at the UCLA Daily Bruin and the LA Times, is moving to the Post's Political Enterprise and Investigations team as an editor... Kristen Lepore, formerly of KPCC and the LA Weekly, is now manager of KCRW's Independent Producer Project... City Hall hand and former journalist Jeremy Oberstein is the new communications director for Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin... More than two years after Univision "fired him over racist comments about first lady Michelle Obama," fashion commentator and TV host Rodner Figueroa has been hired at Telemundo... Mark Mooney, a CNN Money editor who chronicled his treatments for cancer and decision to stop chemo, had his final post published: My Last Byline.

michaela-pereira-frank-buckley-interviews-3.jpgMichaela Pereira, the former KTLA Morning News and CNN anchor, is back in Los Angeles hosting “Michaela” for HLN and describes herself on the Frank Buckley interviews podcast as a "bi-racial, adopted, plus-sized, Canadian anchor in America.”... ArtCenter President Lorne Buchman is now hosting a podcast, Change Lab: Conversations on Transformation and Creativity... KFI's Debra Mark plays a TV reporter on an episode of a new series "My Dead Ex."... Reveal is looking to hire "a go-getter science reporter to investigate the Trump admin's rejection of science."... Arnulfo Garcia, the former editor of the San Quentin News, got out of prison in July with big plans. But he was killed in a car crash... Judy Stone, the San Francisco Chronicle’s movie critic for two decades, died Friday at her home in San Francisco at age 93... Taffy Akner tweets: "Being on Twitter these days is like watching every single cable news channel all day at the same time. It's unbearable."

Some books to note: Lorraine Hillman, who spent four decades at KNXT/KCBS Channel 2 as a producer and in other roles, has written a behind the scenes book. Lifetime of News: A Memoir has a nice cover blurb from Connie Chung and Amazon reviews from the likes of "The Big News" veterans Pete Noyes and Joe Saltzman.... Lynn M. Zook has Gambling on a Dream: The Classic Las Vegas Strip 1956-1973 now available for e-readers and tablets, with a foreword from architect-historian Alan Hess... Encino lawyer-lobbyist Wayne Avrashow will publish his first novel, Roll the Dice, in November. "Roll the Dice is the story of Tyler Sloan, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee who exits the Las Vegas stage to campaign as Nevada’s next United States Senator...."


P-41, a male lion that roamed the Verdugo Mountains, survived the recent La Tuna Fire and multiple crossings of the Glendale Freeway, but was found dead last week near the Shadow Hills community of Los Angeles. The cause is being studied, the National Park Service said. He was about 10 years old and his tracking collar had failed this summer.

Downtown LA office buildings are being returned to the office market instead of converted to apartments, condominiums or hotels "in a trend that would have been unimaginable only a few years ago." - LA Times

Boyle Heights is attracting new cafes and restaurants despite gentrification backlash - The Eastsider

Governor Brown signs bill making it legal to enter a crosswalk while the clock counts down - Curbed LA

The re-invented Westfield mall in Century City has reopened at least ceremonially, and the Nordstrom store that anchored Westside Pavillion at Pico and Westwood from day one has closed. The Macy's closes next year, according to buzz in the mall.

The former "Tonight Show" studio in Burbank reopened this weekend as Blizzard Arena, a 450-seat venue for Esports - LA Weekly

Los Angeles' legendary palm trees are dying – and few will be replaced - The Guardian

Santa Monica moves forward with runway demolition plans at SMO - SM Daily Press

His honor the maestro

Mayor Eric Garcetti conducts the USC marching band and guest high school bands in a round of "I Love LA."

Selected tweets

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