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Pandora Young

You Feeling Okay? Study Shows Writers Prone to Mental Illness

A large scale study by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has found a link between creative professions and mental illness. Writers in particular are more likely to suffer from psychiatric issues including clinical depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and substance abuse. We’re also nearly twice as likely as the general populace to commit suicide!

Researchers seem to think that all this misery has a genetic component. We’re more likely to blame the collapse of the print industry, lousy wages, and shit like this. Either way, all you writers out there may want to think about seeing a psychiatrist. Assuming you’re lucky enough to have health insurance…

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Gawker Identifies the Creepiest Troll on the Internet, and Reddit Rushes to His Defense

Under the username Violentacrez, 49-year-old Michael Brutsch of Arlington, Texas, anonymously created and maintained a multitude of racist, mysogynistic, and violent sections on the website Reddit. “Niggerjailbait” is one such example of his handiwork on Reddit, and it is as bad as it sounds – sexualized images of underage African American girls. In fact, underage girls was a specialty of Brutsch, and while he was careful to remove any content that was technically illegal, his many “jailbait” pages clearly pandered to pedophiles.

Brutsch/Violentacrez was also the moderator behind the infamous Reddit group “Creepshots,” which featured upskirt and other covert photos taken of unsuspecting women in public places. Though he was somewhat famous in the Reddit community, and had even been called out by Anderson Cooper, Brutsch’s true identity was unknown until Friday, when Gawker’s Adrian Chen published an article about him.

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KCRW Hosts Private Patti Smith Concert

Rock star, punk poet and bestselling author Patti Smith played a private show Wednesday night as part of KCRW’s Berkeley Street Sessions, and FishbowlLA was lucky enough to score an invite. We rocked out with a crowd of approximately 175 public radio supporters including Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Ellen Page, Tim Robbins, Amy Madigan and Jason Bentley‘s mom. We sat next to Bookworm‘s Michael Silverblatt, who was getting his groove on, and watched Ed Harris bark like a dog during Smith’s performance of “Banga.” Magical.

Halfway through the show the music stopped and Smith was joined onstage by KCRW DJ Anne Litt for an interview that touched on a number of topics, including music, motherhood and Smith’s award-winning book, Just Kids. When Litt mentioned how much she’d been enjoying the audiobook version, narrated by Smith, the author revealed that publishers had so disliked her South Jersey accent that they told her to re-record parts of the book speaking “normally.” Thankfully, Smith declined, and her drawl remains on the audio version.

The event was recorded for Morning Becomes Eclectic and will air on November 14. The full recording of the event will become available in the station’s archives that same day.

Photo by Larry Hirshowitz

Variety Sold to Deadline.com Owner Penske Media

After months of courting offers, Variety has finally settled on a buyer. Penske Media, backed by private equity firm Third Point, will acquire the trade publication for approximately $25 million.

Jay Penske told the Los Angeles Times that Nikki Finke will not be involved in running Variety, and that the publication will be operated separately from Deadline.com, though staffers may contribute to both. TheWrap hears from insiders that Finke is “having a major tantrum” because Penske will not give her a role in running Variety.

Variety‘s remaining 120 staffers are undoubtedly concerned about more layoffs, but the Chief Executive was vague about his plans when speaking to the LAT:

“We wouldn’t be buying this business if we didn’t have a plan to correct the recent deterioration of both revenues and profit,” Penske said. “We are not buying Variety to gut the newsroom. We are buying the business to build it. Are there going to be changes? Yes. Do we want to reduce our dependency on print revenues? Yes. How quickly that can happen, we’ll know more in the coming months.”

Penske also said that no decision had been made concerning the fate of the print versions of the trade. Variety publishes both a weekly edition and a daily edition on the weekdays.

KCRW’s ‘Strangers’ Podcast Launches Kickstarter for Season 2

Storytelling podcast  “Strangers,” one of the delightful new series spawned by KCRW’s Independent Producer Project, is a weekly show exploring real life tales of encounters with strangers. Buoyed by the show’s positive reception just four months after launching, producer Lea Thau has started a fundraising campaign on kickstarter to keep the podcast going.

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One-Third of Staff at North County Times To Lose Jobs

Just weeks after the sale of the North County Times to the owners of U-T San Diego, a third of the newspaper’s staff was told they would be laid off. That includes 24 newsroom jobs, according to Elizabeth Aguilera of the North County Times. Workers were given notice of the upcoming layoffs on Monday, in keeping with California law, which requires 60 day advance warning for mass layoffs.

So they’ll be losing their jobs on December 1st. Just in time for the holidays!

Aguilera writes:

The merger will push the combined U-T San Diego and North County Times circulation within the top 10 local daily newspapers in the nation based on ABC circulation averages for the six-month period ended March 31, according to the U-T. (USA Today and The Wall Street Journal are not included because they are not seven-day-a-week local newspapers.)

Since conservative developer Doug Manchester acquired the U-T San Diego last December, he’s used the newspaper as a mouthpiece to promote his political and business agendas. With that kind of editorial direction, we strongly suspect circulation numbers for both newspapers will take a hit.

Chris Lee Returns to the Los Angeles Times

Last year the Los Angeles Times lost Chris Lee to Newsweek/Daily Beast, but they’ve managed to win him back. He’ll return to the paper October 15, where he’ll be a senior writer on film and pop culture, and contribute to the Hero Complex blog. In related news, Gina McIntyre has been made the lead writer and editor for Hero Complex, taking over for Geoff Boucher, who left the paper last month for Entertainment Weekly.

The memo, via LA Observed:

To: The Staff
From: John Corrigan, Assistant Managing Editor

Pop culture aficionados have long sought out the work of Chris Lee. His keen sense of story and gift for words has led to scores of memorable pieces, including Hollywood foodies, Muslim punk rockers and the “club girls” who prowl the Sunset Strip for celebrity gossip.

His takes on celebrities rank among the very best, and the most eclectic. Zack Galifianakis, Gustavo Dudamel, Angelina Jolie, Jerry Lewis, Kanye West … all have gotten the Chris Lee treatment, to the delight of readers. He also chronicled Michael Jackson’s attempted comeback, and shared a Times Editorial Award in 2010 for his role in the breaking news coverage of Jackson’s death.

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LA Press Club to Honor Jane Fonda at NEJ Awards

Actress Jane Fonda will be presented with a Visionary Award at this year’s National Entertainment Journalism Awards gala, presented by the Los Angeles Press Club. Fonda will be the first recipient of the Visionary Award, an honor newly created by the Press Club “to pay homage to an individual within the Entertainment Industry who uses their high-profile status to make the world a better place and to spread information about issues of freedom and social importance.”

Fonda will appear onstage at the gala for an interview with NBC 4 anchor Robert Kovacik. The event takes place on November 18th at the Biltmore Hotel.

If you haven’t entered your work for the NEJ awards yet, there’s still time. The deadline for entries has been extended to October 11.

Tonight: KCRW ‘Strangers’ Party

89.9 KCRW is having a shindig downtown at Mas Malo this evening to celebrate the station’s storytelling podcast “Strangers.” The event will feature a special handcrafted photo booth by woodworker Joshua Kartsch that also records audio, allowing partygoers to tell their own “stranger” stories.

Free and open to the public at Mas Malo in the basement party cantina. 515 W. 7th St. Los Angeles, CA 90014. Fun starts at 7 p.m. Cash bar, drink and appetizer specials.

New Owners — Kind Of — For LA Weekly

Village Voice Media, the parent company of the LA Weekly, is dismantling. The company’s 13 alternative newspapers are being purchased by a group of top VVM executives, led by chief operating officer Scott Tobias. The new owners are calling themselves Voice Media Group and will operate out of Denver. Tobias will serve as CEO, Jeff Mars (formerly VVM’s vice president of financial operation) will be chief financial officer, and Christine Brennan (formerly the executive managing editor of VVM) will serve as executive editor for the new company.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Brennan, a.k.a. “The Wicked Witch of Westword,” sure does like to fire people, (or “cut the fat” as she puts it) so we can probably expect more carnage on the alt-weekly horizon. Fingers crossed it doesn’t reach the LA Weekly.

Our hometown alt-weekly was last purchased in 2005 when New Times Media, run by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, purchased Village Voice Media and adopted the company name. Lacey and Larkin will retain Backpage.com, the online classified ad site that was the most profitable — and controversial — part of Village Voice Media.

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