LA Observed Notes: Clippers hire big-time writer, unfunny Emmys, editor memo at the Times and more

LAO__Big_Jay-copy.jpgBig Jay McNeely, the tenor sax player who began recording R&B hits here in 1949, and "helped define Los Angeles rhythm and blues and set the stage for the rock ’n’ roll explosion of the 1950s," died Sunday in Riverside County at age 91. Obits in the LA Times, New York Times and LA Weekly. "Farewell Big Jay. We all thought you’d go on forever," author Lynell George tweeted. Photo by Gary Leonard in 2014.

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A writer for the Clippers, a Dreamer on the Galaxy

The LA Clippers made some unexpected media news on Monday night. ESPN reported that the NBA team has hired Lee Jenkins, a Sports Illustrated senior writer known for his profiles, to a new position they are calling executive director of research and identity. "The Clippers are banking on the belief that Jenkins, one of the industry's preeminent sports journalists, can translate his talent, ethics and instincts as a storyteller and his unique study of people into the franchise's ambitious basketball pursuits, " says ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who had the news. Want to shift the local basketball narrative from the Lakers adding LeBron James? Add a narrative journalist!

miguel-aguilar-galaxy.jpgEarlier on Monday, the Players' Tribune posted a first-person piece by Miguel Aguilar, a midfielder for the LA Galaxy, detailing his family's escape from the Juarez drug cartels when he was 11 years old. They drove to Sacramento, where his temporary via expired and his presence in the U.S. became illegal. His status remained undocumented until he was in college at USF, when President Obama's executive order created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Aguilar became the first Dreamer to play pro soccer in the U.S., but his status is up in the air under the Trump Administration. "I believe that one day I will be an American citizen, on paper — the same way I know I am an American in every other way," he writes.

Also in sports: Ralph Lawler, the Clippers' long-serving broadcaster, announced last week that he would retire after the coming season... The Los Angeles Kings will air ten games this hockey season in Spanish on ESPN Deportes AM 1330. The broadcast team has yet to be named... And the New York Times checks in on Frank McCourt's ownership of the top soccer team in Marseille. If the Dodgers miss the playoffs this season, and they might, it will be only the second time since McCourt departed as owner.

Media notes

Seems like a safe bet that they won't be inviting Colin Jost and Michael Che back to host the Emmys. And none of their writers either, hopefully. "Simply too much 'SNL,'" CNN's Brian Lowry observes of Monday night's tepid broadcast. It was kinda like the last half-hour of too many SNLs. "A cringe-worthy, tone-deaf embarrassment," said Kevin Fallon at the Daily Beast. HBO and Netflix shows tied for the most trophies.

After reading Sunday morning about the Northern California professor coming forward to say that SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh attacked her as a teenager, Caitlin Flanagan wrote for The Atlantic about her own attempted rape in high school. It affected her deeply, and her assailant took responsibility and apologized.

sdut-immig-page.jpgThe San Diego Union-Tribune, the other paper acquired by Patrick Soon-Shiong, profiled local immigrants to show the perhaps under-appreciated presence and impact in the county. They wrapped the Sunday paper in this stunning graphic... Soon-Shiong may not be satisfied with owning the LA Times and the U-T. He could also be the key player in a deal being discussed that could merge McClatchy's Bee newspapers in Northern California with Tronc, the LAT's former owner, and basically save daily journalism in a bunch of U.S. cities. Newsonomics' Ken Doctor analyzes the possibilities... California billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk should repair their public reputations by buying newspapers here, Zocalo's Joe Mathews suggests.

LA Taco published its first documentary video, Mousetrap, which follows the lives of two Disneyland employees who have to work multiple jobs in order to afford living in or around Anaheim. An audio documentary is promised for Tuesday... The Los Angeles Film Festival runs Sept. 20-28 in (ahem) Culver City, at the ArcLight Cinemas...

The Hollywood Reporter launched a monthly restaurant review column. "Senior writer Gary Baum will review one restaurant per month, based on multiple visits with reservations made under another name. All meals are paid for by THR." First up is Tesse, "Bill Chait's brashly ambitious bistro on L.A.'s Sunset Strip."... Jacob Bernstein in the NYT says that flea markets are fading away in New York, "yet in Los Angeles, good weather, job scarcity and higher commercial real-estate costs have fueled a thriving swap-meet scene." He focuses on the long-running Rose Bowl market... Tech developer Dan Stillman wrote a browser extension that returns bylines to the redesigned New York Times web home page.

Oops: Looks like the LA Times ran two obits for Wakako Yamauchi, the Japanese American playwright. One, by staffer Jessica Gelt, ran print and web shortly after Yamauchi died on August 16. And another, from the Washington Post, posted on Sept. 12. It's the latter, non-LAT obit that's getting top billing on the site.

LAT editor's plea in memo: Stop defacing the new office

Los Angeles Times executive editor Norm Pearlstine is used to grappling with the big questions in journalism: in fact, he wrote an unusual column in his own paper earlier this month pointing out why Donald Trump's calls to change the libel laws probably won't do anything. He also has to deal with the small things, apparently. A memo he sent around last week instructed the staff to tone down its counter-decorating of Patrick Soon-Shiong's new newsroom in El Segundo.
From: "Pearlstine, Norman"
Date: September 13, 2018 at 8:59:03 AM PDT
Subject: An Email to All Editorial Employees

Dear Colleagues,

In the past few weeks we have seen some, ahem, colorful DIY décor popping up on our news floors. Refrigerator doors have been decorated and posters have been affixed to furniture, including, most conspicuously, one depicting a vending machine on a the newly-installed phone booth.

Our old building, much like our old company, was in a state of near-total disrepair. The new Los Angeles Times is ascendant, and we have the good fortune to inhabit a beautiful building whose design and furnishings merit appreciation and respect. It is unfortunate that some find humor in defacing our new work space.

Please be assured that we do not seek to limit communication. We have, for example, created comfortable and functional sitting areas to encourage conversation and collaboration. We are also installing bulletin boards on floors devoted to editorial, so all employee notices can be posted, and, as a reminder, all employees may decorate their personal work areas consistent with Times policies. (End caps of desks, however, are not part of the personal work area.)

As has occurred since our move into the new building, on a daily basis, housekeeping and security will assist in ensuring that our building retains its professional appearance and décor.

Much of our building is still under construction and, as you know, an adjacent building is being renovated to accommodate studios and a conference center. When finished, the Los Angeles Times campus will be extraordinary.

In the next few weeks, as we approach the 100-day mark following completion of Nant Media’s acquisition of the Times, we shall communicate more with all of you, making sure you know where we are going and how we are going to get there.

Thanks and best regards,


Media people doing stuff

alejandra-campoverdi-cosmo.jpgAnderson Cooper on CNN blasted the right-wing propaganda media for spreading the made-up meme that he faked coverage of the recent hurricane... Alejandra Campoverdi, (pictured), the former LA Times editor and Obama official who ran for Congress from downtown in 2017, writes for Cosmopolitan about her upcoming breast removal surgery after learning she carries the BRCA gene mutations... Former LA Times book section stalwarts David Ulin and Hector Tobar are listed as media contacts for a petition campaign calling on the Library Foundation at LAPL to respond more fully about the abrupt firings of ALOUD founder Louise Steinman and her assistant director, Maureen Moore. More than 800 signers want more recognition for the contributions of Steinman and Moore and a commitment to keep the program going in their image... Miriam Pawel's big new book, "The Browns of California: The Family Dynasty That Transformed a State and Shaped a Nation,” was reviewed in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

How Los Angeles Thrust Itself to the Forefront of National Politics, by Raphael J. Sonenshein in Los Angeles Magazine... Kate Linthicum, an LA Times reporter in Mexico City, tweeted Monday: "Shout-out to the concerned citizens who filmed a traffic cop trying to weasel a bribe out of me and some friends near the circuito yesterday. The cop saw them recording, got flustered and let us go."... Cartoonist Donna Barstow is one of the tenants being squeezed out by the new owner of a residential building on Waverly Drive in Silver Lake. She's blogging about it.

Moves: Taryn Luna is jumping from the Sacramento Bee's politics staff to the LA Times Sacramento bureau... C.J. Jackson, an employee of NantWorks who was press secretary for Patrick Soon-Shiong during his acquisition of the LA Times, has joined the paper as Director of Editorial Events. He's a former reporter for Politico and AP... Julie Makinen, the former Beijing reporter and film editor for the LAT, was named executive editor of the Desert Sun in Palm Springs. "Thrilled to be working with such a great group of talented and ambitious journalists, and helping shape California strategy for Gannett and the USA Today Network," she posted on social media... LAT deputy politics editor Julie Westfall has left the paper: "Next up for me: I’ll be doing some training and consulting, traveling a bit, then looking for my next challenge."... Geoff Boucher, years ago the Hero Complex blogger and columnist at the LA Times, has joined Deadline in the newly created position of genre editor, meaning he will "specialize in breaking news, features and analysis of 'Comic-Con culture.'"

Jobs: The LA Times continues to hire, while the Southern California News Group is looking for an opinion editor to oversee the editorial pages at all 11 papers, including the Register and the Daily News: "We are seeking an ambitious, audience-oriented editor who believes in promoting public discourse, effecting change in public policy and ensuring that government is accountable to the public."... Mother Jones is looking for a immigration reporter and the candidate might be based in LA.

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