Weekly eliminates Theater Editor slot

Word came down from Village Voice Media HQ in Phoenix that the LA Weekly can't afford a theater editor any more. That puts Steven Leigh Morris out of a job. He blogs:

In the program of the off-Broadway production of my play Beachwood Drive last year, I wrote in my bio, somewhat facetiously, that among my proudest accomplishments was surviving six rounds of layoffs at the L.A. Weekly. The joke is now on me. That survival streak ended yesterday, when the newspaper's corporate uberseers in Phoenix eliminated the position of Theater Editor at the paper. Over six years, the "transitions" at this and other papers in the chain have become the alt-weekly's answer to the French Revolution....

After almost 30 years, the Theater Editor position in a city with 2,000 professional plays opening every year was determined by Phoenix to be a fiscal extravagance. My understanding is that [editor Laurie] Ochoa and [publisher Beth] Sestanovich vehemently protested this decision to eliminate my position and worked to negotiate some alternative with Phoenix, but were overruled. Much earlier, Phoenix eliminated the Theater Editor position at their flagship New York paper, The Village Voice, in a city that's the theater capital of the world. So their latest, local beheading is hardly surprising.

For me, it was a good 20-year run that has, in addition to supporting a deserving and dedicated theater community through organizing and advocating for prodigious coverage of the theater scene, and the annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards, included, in my case, writing feature articles on diverse topics, from arts and politics in Russia and Poland, to stories on local redevelopment and about riding L.A.'s buses and trains, to barnyard poultry in my own back yard. Can't exactly complain about those eccentric opportunities.

Arts Editor Tom Christie picks up theater too.

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Weeklies stories on LA Observed:
'Profitable' LA Weekly put up for sale
Malibu beach hijinx, take 256
Sue Laris puts Downtown News up for sale after 44 years
Drew Tewksbury named LA Weekly managing editor
LA Weekly's Maddaus to Variety and more media notes
OC Weekly sold to publisher Duncan McIntosh
LA Weekly loses film critic Amy Nicholson too
LA votes to move Santa Monica 'closer'


LA Observed on Twitter