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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Westhoff’

Ben Westhoff Promoted to Senior Music Editor for Village Voice Media

LA Weekly music editor Ben Westhoff has been promoted by the paper’s parent company to the position of senior music editor, and will now be in charge of music coverage for all 13 of the Village Voice Media’s alternative newsweeklies. He tells FishbowlLA, “My primary responsibilities are still as LA Weekly music editor.”

Westhoff also responded to David Carr‘s suggestion that he had something to do with the recent departure of Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston:

My responsibilities do not include hiring/firing, so I didn’t fire Maura. I wouldn’t say there was a power struggle, and overall I admired her writing.

Westhoff has a long history with Village Voice Media papers. He got his start in journalism as a freelance writer with the SF Weekly, and later went on to become a staff writer at the Riverfront Times in St. Louis. He has also written for numerous other media outlets including for Village Voice, SpinNew York Observer, Pitchfork, and NPR. Last year he published a book about the southern rap phenomenon, entitled Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop.

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Village Voice Sheds Staff

The Village Voice, sister paper to the LA Weekly, suffered two big losses Friday. First was editor-in-chief Tony Ortega, who announced he was quitting to work on a book proposal about Hollywood’s favorite cult, Scientology. What? No one quits their job to work on a book proposal.  You quit once you get a book deal. More likely that Ortega was fired, as some sources have been telling the New York Observer, and he’s now attempting to save face.

Also out is music editor Maura Johnston, who made no pretense about the circumstances of her departure, telling David Carr of the New York Times, “the decision to leave was not mine.” Carr had high praise for Johnston in the paper’s Media Decoder blog:

She…embodied The Voice’s tradition of thoughtful cultural criticism, and resisted the kinds of light, easily consumable items, like Top 10 lists and photo compilations, that tend to draw the most traffic online.

Giving in to “the Darwinistic page-view coverage of anything,” she said, “is damaging to culture as a whole.”

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LA Weekly Names New Music Editor

LA Weekly has finally named its new music editor. Ben Westhoff, a New York freelancer for The Village Voice, Pitchfork and Spin among other pubs, and an author of two books, one on Southern hip-hop and the other on New York dive bars, has been tapped for the job. Westhoff got his start at the Riverfront Times–which, incidentally, is the same paper LA Weekly music editor once-removed, Randall Roberts came out of.

Westhoff starts his new gig July 12. He replaces Gustavo Turner, who, among other triumphs, helped the paper land Henry Rollins as a weekly columnist, but decided to return to writing full time.