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Posts Tagged ‘Deborah Vankin’

Madeleine Brand Speaks

Madeleine Brand hasn’t said much publicly since her abrupt departure from KPCC last September. And that hasn’t changed despite participating in an LA Times profile. Although reporter Deborah Vankin did glean some interesting nuggets from her about what went wrong.

Martinez is indisputably “easy on the ear,” Brand acknowledges, but she met him only twice before he was brought on. “One little tryout and … a get-to-know-ya coffee,” she says.

Brand had input early in the long process of interviewing potential co-hosts — and was excited about certain candidates, including OC Weekly editor in chief Gustavo Arellano and CNN’s Nick Valencia — but was “surprised” when she found out in an email that the station had hired Martinez, who is known as the voice of ESPN Radio‘s “Lakers Line” and “Dodger Talk” on AM 710 but came into the job with little hard-news experience.

“I had no idea what his capabilities were,” she says.

Also interesting: crosstown NPR affiliate KCRW has its eye on Brand. “When she became available, it was the clear and obvious conversation to have,” general manager Jennifer Ferro told the Times. “Madeleine’s really talented and definitely belongs on the radio in Los Angeles — we’re gonna try to make that happen.”

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Crying Foul Over Kathy Griffin’s Latest Grammy Nomination

A couple of years ago, the Recording Academy loosened eligibility rules for the category of Best Comedy Album. It’s OK now for the soundtrack of a TV program to be considered an “album.”

It’s only because of this rule change that Kathy Griffin is in the running again this weekend with 50 & Not Pregnant, a product put out by Universal Network Television. That does not sit well with Dylan P. Gadino, editor of He recently told LA Times reporter Deborah Vankin that Griffin does not belong in the category for a fourth straight year:

“You shouldn’t be able to take audio from a television show and call it a comedy album,” says Gadino. “Original intent, editing and production should come into play.”

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Another Merry Year at

Long-time Bloomberg News entertainment correspondent Michael White has a good year-end wrap-up look at According to one of his sources, the profitable company will gross close to $30 million this year; not bad for a venture that started out as a “clubhouse for our friends.”

Seeded with $15 million from Sequoia Capital, FunnyorDie counts several other high-profile owners besides main partners Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. As we head into the holidays, Judd Apatow, CAA and HBO can toast the ongoing expansion of the company’s reach:

FunnyorDie’s third show on cable TV, Billy on the Street, starts today on Madison Square Garden Co.’s Fuse network. The first feature film, Funny Or Die Presents Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, premieres at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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Brand X Hits Streets Tomorrow


Brand X is the new weekly publication from the LA Times. Editors Dean Kuipers and Deborah Vankin introduce the new rag in a blog post:

So, what is Brand X? It’s trading next-generation ideas on lifestyle, tech, entertainment, food, events, volunteering, style and the outdoors. Brand X is a curated shot of shared intelligence about how we live now and how we want to live tomorrow – the next movements in social networking and the return of the kitchen garden; micro-philanthropy, and the breakthroughs in science and art that are helping Southern Californians evolve and thrive.

The new tabloid will take over the boxes currently occupied by Metromix. Metromix will cease publication, but the website will continue, and will be maintained by Brand X staff.

LAT Memo: A New Multimedia Editorial Product – Brand X

The following is an internal memo from Russ Stanton:


As the media landscape continues to shift, we are seizing the
opportunity to expand The Times to a different audience with a new
multimedia editorial product called Brand X (

In a few weeks, the street boxes currently occupied by Metromix will
offer a new weekly tabloid created by the combined efforts of the former Metromix staff, and our newsroom. Online, BrandX will take blog form and will evolve and exist apart from with its own identity and voice.

Brand X is designed to be a community, aimed at younger,
social-networking readers who are interested in culture, technology,
entertainment, food, events, volunteering, style and the outdoors.
Reader input and participation will be part of the mix, as will
features, quick-hit items, reviews and listings.

Brand X will include Times coverage of must-see concerts, exhibitions
and events in Southern California. We’ll reverse-publish many of our blog posts, use Times-generated articles and photos, and
create original content that can go back into the main paper. It’s
content sharing on an extremely local level and will bring our great
work to an audience that does not currently see it.

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BAM! BOOM! Graphic Novel Panel Kicked Ass

serie_zlott.jpgAtonement notwithstanding, comics are where it’s at book-wise — as the L.A. Times Festival of Books Graphic Novels panel proved.

Moderated by Deborah Vankin of Metromix, lots of people turned out for the panel. Including one of our spies:

It was pretty straightforward. (and hot, as the air conditioning was broken). Panelists were Jaime Hernandez (1/2 the Hernandez Brothers whose “Love and Rockets” has been a big, big influencer of indie comics in this country, Joe Matt (‘Peepshow’) and Cecil Castellucci (‘Plain Janes’).

It was a good representation of the indie publishers (Fantagraphics for Jaime, and Drawn and Quarterly for Joe) versus more mainstream (DC Comics for Vankin and Cecil). Lots of differing opinions/perspectives but the overall ‘unifying thread’ was an affection for the genre and agreement as to how difficult/complex it is to create! And how graphic novels are generally “misunderstood’ by the mainstream media and public was a theme (i.e., they’re not just for kids… they’re not porn!… and they’re not easy to whip up/create.)

Also discussed: the recent explosion of graphic novels and manga… how the genre is becoming accepted as a credible literary medium and a way to tell all kinds of stories, not just superhero stories. Like literary memoirs (Fun Home, Alison Bechdel) and Persepolis or the forthcoming Period Piece set in 1920s called Incognegro, by Matt Young. Etc.

Jaime told some interesting stories about growing up with comics in his house — they were always around! His mom helped cultivate his pride in the genre– and Cecil spoke about witnessing a terrorist bombing when she was a kid and how that scene made it’s way into her recent book Plain Janes. Joe talked a little about struggling with writers block and how he’s taking notes for his next book, which will be about his experiences in LA.

All the panelists agreed L.A. was one of the best cities to create art in these days. But that there wasn’t a central or easily accessible “comics scene” for comic creators.

Metromix Kicks It Old School — Web Site Goes To Print

100_2547.JPGThe LAT’s appeal to the hipster set, Metromix, started appearing in newsboxes this week.

We ask editor Deborah Vankin: How cool is that?

“Reaction has been great — pretty much unanimously, people are saying it looks amazing; and we’re hearing a lot of comments about the writing — that it’s smart and fun. Which is nice, because we put a lot of effort into that — it may be lighthearted, but it’s real, reported content.”

How’s it feel to see it in the boxes?
“Surreal and wonderful at once — it took nine months to get to this place (the combined efforts of a lot of people); so seeing it in the hands of readers at cafes and on sidewalks, through tired eyes, sort of feels like we’ve given birth … to a litter of, well, upcoming issues I guess!

“But seriously: seeing the way people are reacting — emptying boxes on the streets and kind of ravenous for this sort of thing, for something smart, well-informed and fun at once that’s also slim enough to easily navigate — makes us realize a) there was a need for it and b) print is obviously not dead. It’s just evolving and fusing with the internet. It’s interesting to be a part of.”

Stuff We’ve Been Too Sick To Blog 1: Metromix Goes Print

blogoramajpg.jpegWoe is us — and woe is anyone who has breathed the same air as us in the last few days. We are still hellishly sick, but we’re trying to rally to give you all the news that we’ve been too ill to type:

On Thursday, David Hiller held a Town hall meeting with the whole LAT staff in the auditorium and gave a sort of “state of the union address” about LAT in 2008 and beyond. As part of that, he officially announced the print launch of a print version of Metromix.

It will be a weekly youth tabloid aimed at 20-somethings — “young professionals” was his term — and published by the LA Times Group. (Distributed on streets, in boxes, for free). It’ll be staffed by the same good people who run the Web site with Deborah Vankin as editor and Alex Le Tellier is Managing Editor, etc etc.

Metromix also just hired Rebecca Epstein, Arts Editor at Citybeat, to be web-to-print editor and Eric Almendral, art director at Filter, to be Art Director of it.

New Sites: Metromix Goes Live Today

19836576.jpgThe Tribune’s what-to-do/where-to-go Web site, Metromix, is launching its L.A. site today. Metromix L.A. Editor Deborah Vankin sends along this note of triumph:

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Metromix Staffs Up, Some Jobs Still Empty


Metromix, Tribune’s what-to-do, where-to-go site has staffed up for Los Angeles. Site goes live in June.

Editor: Deborah Vankin, formerly of Variety,
Managing Editor: Alexandra Le Tellier, still at,
Music: Scott T. Sterling, former eic of URB,
Events: Alie Ward,
Restaurants and Style: Jiyeon Yoo,
Editor at Large: Ann Donahue, former news editor at Premiere.

Still looking for:

freelance style editor/blogger, copy editor, photo editor, multimedia editor and assorted interns.

Mix It Up With Metromix