1. LA Weekly staff gutted by new owners
We were expecting there to be some pain with the sale of @LAWeekly. But we weren't expecting the Red Wedding. That's how deep the cuts are. 1/— Mara Shalhoup (@mshalhoup) November 29, 2017
She praised laid-off staffers by name in a string of tweets that I recommend, and concluded: "Thank you, all of you at @LAWeekly, for kicking so much ass. I was hoping for a less heartbreaking ending, but I'm glad we all got to tell the story of this city together." This week's issue was already done, and it's unclear who will write, edit and publish next week's print issue, if it happens.
Also out are publisher Matt Cooperstein, managing editor Drew Tewksbury, staff writers Dennis Romero and Jason McGahan, deputy arts editor Gwynedd Stuart, music editor Andy Hermann; food editor Katherine Spiers; film critic April Wolfe and multimedia designer Garry Santos. The only staff writer retained was Hillel Aron.
On Wednesday the LA Weekly's sale to a mysterious new entity, Semanal Media, formally closed. The buyer has not revealed anything about itself, but did name Brian Calle, the conservative former editorial page editor of the Orange County Register and its sister papers, to run the Weekly. Here's some backstory on him. After the news broke today, Los Angeles media twitter exploded with outpourings of dismay. Several LA Weekly alumni posted their support.
And now this -- not surprising perhaps, given the new no-name ownership, but @LAWeekly was so essential for so long, and one of the places where I learned to trust myself as a writer. Raise a glass in honor of the paper, and all of the journalists who lost their jobs. https://t.co/2Dm3GHygtp— David Ulin (@davidulin) November 30, 2017
Beyond distressing. The LA Weekly provides 100s of 1000s of readers w/vital stories about the city, how it runs, who makes it tick—whether hero or villain. LA desperately needs more of that, not less. Hoping these editors get scooped up as they should. https://t.co/jEVu28EJIz— Mary Melton (@MaryMeltonLA) November 30, 2017
The 100-plus journalists I’ve known at LA Weekly since the 1980s could put out the New York Times tomorrow. Let’s see Bezos or Hal Varian cough up a hundred million to launch a platform of diverse diggers and thinkers on and in LA.— Jill Stewart (@jillstewart) November 30, 2017
Heart is breaking about the bloodbath @LAWeekly. So many good people lost their jobs today.— Sarah Fenske (@sarahfenske) November 30, 2017
Terrible, terrible news. https://t.co/q9BcBWn9W0— Celeste Fremon (@WitnessLA) November 30, 2017
Devastated to hear about LA Weekly, which for so long was at the center of my world.— jonathan gold (@thejgold) November 30, 2017
Jonathan Gold, now at the LA Times, won his Pulitzer Prize for writing about food for the LA Weekly.
Added: An article appeared late Wednesday night on the Weekly website, under the byline of Keith Plocek, asking who now owns the LA Weekly. "The new owners of LA Weekly don’t want you to know who they are. They are hiding from you." Click on the image here to see the page, in case it gets taken down. (12:40 a.m. update: Yeah, it's down. 1 a.m. update: It's back up.)
2. Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, Teddy Davis...