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In N Out

Frank Sontag Officially Takes Over at KKLA-FM

The 2012 circumstances under which Frank Sontag (pictured) took over for Frank Pastore at KKLA 99.5 FM last fall were difficult. The regular afternoon show host was was critically injured in a freeway motorcycle accident and later passed away.

But such is, sometimes, life. This week, Salem Communications made the transition official, announcing Sontag as the permanent afternoon host for the 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekday slot on the broadcast outlet known as  ”The Intersection of Faith and Reason:”

“We are excited about having Frank Sontag join our line-up in the critical afternoon drive position,” says KKLA program director Chuck Tyler. “Frank is a true veteran of Los Angeles radio having worked at [former ABC Station] KLOS-FM for 27 years.”

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Mass Exodus at VegNews Magazine

Like so many of these things, news that something was up at VegNews magazine first broke on Twitter via the account of senior editor Jennifer Chen. Among those catching the June 10 tweet was a blogger who goes by the byline of Insufferable Vegan.

Late Tuesday night, he-she reported on LA-NYC website SuperVegan that it’s not just Chen who has decided to bail from the embattled San Francisco publication. According to the author’s sources, two other top masthead people have also quit:

The magazine’s website, which has yet to be updated, but hey, it’s not like they have the word “news” in their oh wait — still lists [Elizabeth] Castoria as its managing editor, Chen as senior editor and [Anna] Peraino as online editor. I guess it’s hard to update your masthead online when your online editor has quit.

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From Projectionist to President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

As first reported by Steve Pond of TheWrap, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Monday elected a much younger new president. Theo Kingma, who started out as a projectionist and later became a photographer, is just 46. The two previous heads of the HFPA were both in their seventies when they took office.

Kingma has indicated he plans to improve the reputation of the HFPA, which has been further targeted in recent weeks via a pair of TheWrap stories by site founder Sharon Waxman. From Pond’s earlier op-ed piece:

In recent months, TheWrap has been contacted repeatedly by members of the HFPA and by studio reps who deal with the group. None wished to be identified, but all complained in increasingly strong terms about HFPA policies and practices and described the upcoming election as pivotal… Kingma originally agreed to speak for this story, but cancelled when he did not receive permission from HFPA leadership to do so.

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Richard Rushfield Joins Yahoo Entertainment

As BuzzFeed’s first, former and so far only LA bureau chief, Richard Rushfield saw his fair share of solid Web traffic reports. But he has now moved on to a company where those numbers are truly spectacular.

FishbowlLA tipsters inform that Rushfield joined Yahoo Entertainment a few weeks ago as features editor. Sure enough, we found what looks to be a first bylined item, dated May 30. Although we imagine much of Rushfield’s day-to-day duties will fall on the enterprise and long-lead assignment side.

Rushfield joins Yahoo Entertainment on the heels of former TMZ GM and LA Times vet Alan Citron’s arrival as business lead. The LAT genealogy also extends to Yahoo editor-in-chief Scott Robson, who worked with Rushfield at The Envelope. At this rate, we wouldn’t be surprised if Patrick Goldstein is soon announced as a Yahoo columnist.

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LA Times Adds Deputy Mobile Editor

If you’re into acronyms, as we are, then you’ll understand why one of the first things we did upon learning that Laura E. Davis (pictured) has been appointed to the new LA Times position of deputy mobile editor was to look up what else the abbreviation DME stands for. Besides deputy managing editor.

Turns out DME has a breadth and depth as wide as the purview Davis, a former Yahoo News manager, is now tasked with overseeing. In no particular order, DME has also been known to stand for the 2010-12 TV series Drinking Made Easy, digital media edition (via Microsoft), direct marketing expense and doctorate of music education.

Davis, a USC grad, began her journalism career with AP stints in LA and New York. During her time at Yahoo, the company’s Facebook news-feed presence grew to more than two million fans and the Twitter page @YahooNews added 300,000+ followers.

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Kim Murphy Takes Over as LA Times National Editor

Some might argue that Roger Smith is getting out of the print newspaper business in general and Tribune Co.-owned corner of it in particular just in time. Per an internal memo shared this morning by LA Times readers’ representative Deirdre Edgar, the national editor is retiring after 36 years of overall service.

From the announcement by Times editor Davan Maharaj and managing editor Marc Duvoisin:

Smith will be succeeded by Kim Murphy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning national and foreign correspondent now serving as our Seattle bureau chief.

The tributes to Roger will soon begin to flow. There isn’t enough space here even to begin summing up what he has meant to The Times. We’ll leave that for another day.

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TMZ Jettisons Longtime Staffer Johnny Lopez

This is definitely not what we expected so soon after TMZ made the 12-and-a-half-mile move from West Hollywood to Playa del Rey. But sources tells FishbowlLA a number of staffers were let go Friday.

It’s not unusual for TMZ to cycle through employees. However, what makes this latest bit of turnover notable is that among those getting the axe is a loyal soldier who has been with Harvey Levin since the very beginning.

As we once highlighted, Johnny Lopez (pictured) was the only person besides Harvey who could point to a byline on the TMZ.com website. From the get-go, very cleverly, AOL-Telepictures-Warner Bros. decided that the best way to brand TMZ was to make sure “By TMZ Staff” sat underneath each headline. That strategy seems a little antiquated now that TMZ is fully brand-established.

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KTTV Adds Orange County Reporter

A few weeks into her new job at FOX 11, Alexandra Limon (pictured) is already busy covering all manner of both serious and frivolous OC news.

For a recent story about lingering tensions in Anaheim after a pair of fatal police shootings last summer, Limon noted a striking coincidence involving the mother of one of the victims:

On Saturday [May 18], just by chance, [Joel] Acevedo’s mother Donna pulled her car up right next to a police car driven by Kelly Phillips, the officer who killed her son.

“I stopped for a few seconds and I told him ‘Why are you here? Why don’t you work somewhere else?’” Donna Acevedo told FOX 11 News.

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Iraq War Experiences Sparked OC Register Reporter to Journalism

Journalism careers can often be circuitous. Take as an example the trajectory of Louis Casiano Jr. (pictured), who started May 20 as a general assignment reporter covering the region of Placentia for the Orange County Register.

Casiano interned at the Houston Chronicle for nine months as a city reporter. He also did a summer internship stint with an NBC affiliate in Seattle and spent two weeks in Tucson at the New York Times Journalism Institute. But it all began several years earlier, in 2004, on the battlefields of Iraq:

During his one-year deployment, Casiano happened to meet a few print and broadcast journalists. As he observed and discussed their professions, he was drawn to journalism. When returning to the U.S., he attended the University of Houston and graduated with a degree in print journalism and political science.

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Patch Dumps One of Its Fiercest Local Champions

On May 15, Echo Park-Silver Lake Patch editor Anthea Raymond was enlisted to do what many in the hyper-local network have been recently: front for an adjacent geographical hub. She welcomed Beverly Hills Patch readers to the new site design, touting a spiffy Opinion board, Announcements board and more.

Exactly a week later, Raymond – a veteran LA journalist with many years of service at KCRW and in college classrooms – had a different message to share via her Patch site’s Facebook page:

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