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Posts Tagged ‘Beth Sestanovich’

Drex Heikes Not the Only One Out at the LA Weekly

Big news today in the alt-weekly world as LA Weekly editor-in-chief Drex Heikes announced he was moving on from the paper. His last day is this Friday. LA Observed has the memo. We spoke with with Weekly publisher Beth Sestanovich about who might be taking over for Heikes. Sestanovich says she found out about Heikes impending departure about a week and a half ago, and that a replacement has yet to be found. “I suspect we’ll have an announcement on a replacement in the next couple of weeks.”

Given that LA Weekly parent company Village Voice Media/New Times has a history of promoting from within its network of papers, we asked Sestanovich if an LA candidate is likely to take over the paper. “There are no internal candidates in the building,” was all she would tell us.

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Exclusive: LA Weekly Will Shrink Its Print Web and Launch Redesign Next Month

For the second time in two years, the LA Weekly will be shrinking its print web. The Weekly, which shrunk from 27 inches to 26 inches in 2009, will now be brought down to 24 inches. The interior of the paper will also be redesigned for the second time since 2009.

Though all indications are the shrink and redesign are a done deal, we spoke with LA Weekly publisher Beth Sestanovich, who cautiously told us, “No final decision has been made yet. But if it happens, we’ll be rolling it out towards the end of February.”

We’ve been hearing rumors that the Weekly, as well as other Village Voice Media papers, would largely be de-emphasizing their print products in the coming months, and putting most of their efforts on the web. Sestanovich denies this is the rationale behind the shrink, claiming “print readership is up 22 percent from last year.”

“Paper prices have done nothing but steadily rise: 20 percent in 2010 and 15 in 2011. That’s a substantive cost increase, which never passed nickel of onto our clients.”

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LA Weekly’s Laurie Ochoa ‘s Letter to LA Observed

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LA Weekly EIC Laurie Ochoa’s email to Kevin Roderick:

Kevin,

I know it makes juicier blog posts to tie everything that happens at the LA Weekly to some kind of Mike Lacey conspiracy against the very paper he owns, but Monday’s item about the Weekly’s new office location being Lacey’s revenge on the staff was just silly. He and Jim Larkin trusted longtime publisher Beth Sestanovich to find a new building and she was the driving force behind the move. And while Lacey does sometimes stay on the Westside, I can tell you that the last two times he was in town, he flew into Burbank and didn’t go west of La Cienega.

Now you’ve finished the week by bundling the good fortune of a few of our writers into a narrative that makes it seem as if Jill Stewart is causing some kind of mass exodus. While I hate to see talented journalists leave the paper, one of the things we do well here is assign good writers the kinds of feature stories that get noticed by a large and influential audience. Sometimes this attention leads to job offers and book or movie deals that are hard to resist. Fortunately, I’ve got a growing stack of resumes from excellent journalists around the country who want to work here. And I know from personal experience that leaving the Weekly doesn’t mean you can’t come home again–I’m hopeful we’ll see work in the future from many of the writers who are moving on.

It’s true that, as any editor would, Jill has brought new voices to the paper (Zuma Dogg, for the record, has written just two stories in Jill’s ten months at the paper). But she is also bringing in good stories from some of our veteran freelancers and has reached out for news pieces from staff writers who wouldn’t normally report to her.

One of these writers just left my office amazed at how different the caricature of Jill is from reality. This writer has had a blast working with her. Yes, there have been some disagreements, but I haven’t worked at a place where editors and writers always see eye to eye. For me, the most important thing is that we’re still doing the kinds of stories that reflect the city and can compete in quality with any magazine or newspaper in the country.

By the way, Marc Cooper isn’t going anywhere–his column is in the paper virtually every week and he’s currently hard at work on a cover story for us. We’re fortunate that he is able to travel around the country and bring back original reporting for us on national issues (most recently he was in Iowa covering the presidential campaign).

Thanks for taking notice of our stories as often as you do, but if you’re going to do an item on the internal business of the paper, I’d really appreciate at least a courtesy email to check the facts of your post.

Sincerely,
Laurie Ochoa

PS: Did you see that Ted Kissell, Gustavo and I responded to the Nation article? The letters were finally printed in the issue that came out two weeks ago.
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Roderick tries to swipe FBLA, but swings, misses, nurses sore paw.