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Exclusive Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Orange County Press Club President Defends Himself Against Accusations of Plagiarism

At a special Orange County Press Club emergency board meeting convened last month, president Christopher Trela was asked to explain three alleged incidents of plagiarism committed in December and January at the Newport Beach Independent. He then left the room and those present voted unanimously (8-0, with one abstention) to keep him on as head of the organization.

Among the many strange twists in the OC Press Club’s investigation of Trela’s transgressions is the fact that the efforts to determine exactly what transpired in the pages of his community newspaper encompassed a board member, Roger Bloom, who Trela succeeded last November as editor of the Newport Beach Independent.

Trela was kind enough to share with FishbowlLA the notes that he used at that special board meeting. The first alleged incident of plagiarism was a December 18, 2012 item about the Fashion Island mall shooter titled “Suspect to be Arraigned Today for Firing Weapong in Fashion Island Parking Lot.” At issue was the fact that Trela cut, pasted and then tweaked press release copy from the D.A.’s office. Per Trela’s notes:

The news group editor for [parent company] Firebrand Media forwarded the D.A.’s press release to me about the arraignment […] I posted the release, but cleaned it up because I thought some of it was not well written. It was posted under my name – when things are posted to the [Independent] website, there is a drop-down menu of contributor names, and you have to select a name to attribute the article to. I thought that was the proper procedure.

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Meet the Woman Behind Steve Harvey’s Book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man

It may be tough for journos to break into book-writing, but for Denene Millner, landing her first book deal in 1997 was “a total fluke.”

The journo wrote a feature story for the New York Daily News about how the relationship book The Rules wouldn’t work for black women and, by 3:00 p.m. that day, Millner had landed a book deal for that very subject. Since then, she’s penned 21 titles, including Steve Harvey‘s bestseller, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.

“It opened doors for me for other projects, because when other celebrities are considering who should write their book, they’re going to see my representation and my reputation as a writer,” Millner told Mediabistro about the runaway hit. “You know, New York Times-bestselling writer and top-selling book of 2009 is a hell of a calling card. In some other ghostwriting projects, my name hasn’t even been on the spine or the title page, but I try my best to negotiate that so that somebody knows I wrote it besides my family. It opens a lot of doors for more work, which is kind of awesome. It’s all any writer can ask.”

For more, read So What Do You Do, Denene Millner, Co-Author of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man?

Dishing with Beverly Hills 90210′s Charlie Weber

The second go-round of Beverly Hills 90210 (a.k.a. 90210) is set to wrap up on The CW in May after five seasons. Among the show’s last new characters is Mark Holland, an LA gourmet food truck driver played by Charlie Weber.

Weber dropped into the show February 11 as the half-brother of Naomi (Annalynne McCord) and makes his third episode appearance tonight in “Life’s a Beach.” The actor best known for his recurring role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is set for two more episodes after tonight and is also currently being talked up by his fans as a perfect choice for the role of Christian Grey in Hollywood’s adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey. The 34-year-old Jefferson City, Missouri native recently took time out to answer a few questions from FishbowlLA.

What is your favorite thing about living in Los Angeles?

The beaches are the best. When I first moved out here, I had never surfed before. But a buddy of mine got me into it and I’ve been surfing ever since.

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BuzzMedia CEO Says Company Will Be Profitable Sometime in 2013

Today is D-Day at BuzzMedia. However, company CEO Stephen Hansen (pictured) wants to be very clear about something within the context of the layoff of approximately 50 employees (two thirds in New York, the other third in LA).

“One of the things I was committed to when I took over as CEO was making sure we had the capital to make the changes that would really add a lot of value,” Hansen tells FishbowlLA via telephone. “We received a tremendous amount of support from our existing investors and there is $15 million of additional capital that came into the business in the first part of 2013. We’ll be profitable in 2013, so I think we’re in really good shape.”

“For what it’s worth, there are a lot of reasons why people make hard decisions like the ones we’re making now,” he adds. “I’ve been through ups and downs, and crashes, and bubbles bursting, and all that sort of thing. The good news is that’s not the case here.”

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Writing Advice from Producer of The Tudors, History Channel’s Vikings

Just in time for the upcoming premier of Vikings on the History Channel, Michael Hirst, the show’s writer and producer, talks about his writing process in the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series.

“The key for me with historical characters is they’re interesting because they’re human beings,” he said. ”A little bit of Hemingway goes a long way here, but journalists and writers should honestly look at their material and have a real interest, a real passion in what they want to write, and they should also have a lot of knowledge, as well.”

“You don’t write police procedural stuff unless you really know that beat, but it’s ultimately not the procedure that makes the show work — it’s the people. The more real they are, the better.”

Read more in:
So What Do You Do, Michael Hirst, Creator of The Tudors and Vikings?

Reporter Stephen Battaglio Had No Idea He Was Going to Star in Seth MacFarlane’s Opening Monologue

The lucky film students presenting trophies during last night’s Oscars were not the only “regular” folks to make it into the telecast. There was also of course Stephen Battaglio (pictured), the journalist whose byline adorned a series of fake next-day reviews referenced during an opening bit by host Seth MacFarlane and surprise remote guest William Shatner.

Although the logical assumption would be that Battaglio was in on the gag, the New York-based business editor for TV Guide was in fact blindsided. “I was home watching the Oscars with my wife,” he tells FishbowlLA via telephone, “saw the first version of the review come up and said, ‘Oh, that’s my name!’ It took me a few seconds to absorb, and then I just went with the joke.”

“I went on to Twitter and posted a tweet that said, ‘Yes, I wrote that,’” he continues. “Then it came up a second and a third time, at which point every single electronic device in the home was either vibrating, buzzing or ringing. It was kind of a wild moment to be a part of the media event that the whole world was focused on.”

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O‘s Adam Glassman: ‘Even Oprah thought I was nuts in the beginning’

If only he had enough hours in a day. That’s the most challenging part of Adam Glassman‘s gig as creative director of O: The Oprah Magazine, a post where he’s constantly navigating the worlds of graphic design, fashion and media. In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series, Glassman recalls his groundbreaking decision to use real women over fashion models.

“I don’t want to say that we don’t ever use models because there are times that we do, but as we speak to these three generations of women, how can you do that?” he said. “You need something that is going to appeal to everyone. So I started using women of all ages, and not just all ages, but really all shapes. And I thought that was really key. Even Oprah thought I was nuts in the beginning. She was like, ‘You really want to do fashion on real people?’ And I said, ‘Yes, why not? You do it on the show. You show your people in makeovers; you have it in the audience. Let’s try it.’”

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Adam Glassman, Creative Director at O Magazine?

Courtney Friel Says Goodbye to KTTV

As entertainment reporter Courtney Friel bids farewell today to FOX 11 after six years with the station and sister network, she says her first priority will be some quiet time this weekend at home with husband Carter Evans. Her CBS News spouse is now also infamously known as the journalist who got caught in some very intense and scary Big Bear/Christopher Dorner crossfire.

“I knew when I was moving out to Los Angeles that it was always the plan for me to just finish out the last year of my FNC contract at KTTV,” she tells FishbowlLA via email. “My husband and I really wanted to move back to LA to raise our family, and Roger Ailes was so gracious to allow this to happen.”

“It’s been such an honor to work with KTTV and FOX News Channel for the past six years and I really appreciate all the love, support, and guidance I received,” she adds. “I have a few projects I’ll be working on and look forward to exploring more entertainment opportunities both within television news and other alternative entertainment programming platforms.”

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Pitchfork Founder to Bloggers: ‘Be willing to work for a long period of time for just the love of it’

Way back in 1995, Ryan Schreiber was a high school graduate working as a record store clerk. Finding little on the Internet about indie music, he decided to start his own Web page and launched Pitchfork. With no publishing experience, the site eventually became the online authority on indie music, and nowadays a review there can make or break a career.

In the latest installment of Mediabistro’s So What Do You Do? series, Schreiber says that aspiring entrepreneurs should “be willing to put in the work for a long period of time for just the love of it.”

“Today, more so than any other time, it seems really difficult to make a living in the media, especially in the music media,” he explained. “It’s just so crowded, and at this point the publications that are really able to establish themselves are the ones that are the most passionate and the most relatable. I find that the publications I tend to connect with most are ones that are, in many cases, written by a single voice, somebody who has a really interesting viewpoint or perspective.”

Read the full interview in So What Do You Do, Ryan Schreiber, Founder and CEO of Pitchfork?

LAist Lindsay William-Ross is Having a Baby!

For eight years now, Lindsay William-Ross (pictured) has been enlivening the pages of LAist.com, starting out in early 2005 as a volunteer and replacing Zach Behrens as editor-in-chief in November 2010. Come May, her time with the site is scheduled to take a new and delightful turn with the birth of her first child.

“We’re still working out the details, but I expect to take somewhere around eight weeks off,” William-Ross tells FishbowlLA. “My current team of stellar associate editors will be assuming some of my duties, but I suspect we will bring on another set of hands in some sort of capacity to help them out. I produce around 125 posts per month, so in order to sustain our healthy traffic, I’d like to see someone else on board to keep up our volume.”

Friends of William-Ross and whose who follow the single-mom-to-be on Twitter know there is one other key member at her West Toluca Lake household. One whose world is about to similarly be rocked.

“Ah yes, Hank….” William-Ross responds when asked about her pet cat, the subject of many fond tweets. “He has a bit of a cult following. He is the most amazing cat in the world, though.”

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