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Posts Tagged ‘Henry Scott’ Looking to Kickstart Weekly Print Edition

When we spoke last fall with founder-publisher Henry Scott, he outlined his intention to follow the 2012 website with a companion print publication in 2013. That time has now officially arrived – with a twist.

Scott confirmed this morning that a free weekly print edition of WEHOville is planned for late summer, publishing every Thursday. He estimates that he will need three months to break even and is hoping local news consumers will help fund the expansion to the tune of $35,000 on Kickstarter:

Why print, you ask? Because many people still prefer to get their news that way. So we will reach a bigger audience with both print and online editions. In West Hollywood, with our embarrassingly small voter turnout, we need to engage as many residents as possible in the discussion of important civic issues.

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Inquiring WEHOville Minds Want to Know: Is WeHo News Going Out of Business?

Thanks to a brief but complicated pre-launch history linking Henry Scott’s to Ryan Gierach’s WeHo News, the gloves are always quick to come off whenever these two outlets get tangled up in the same story. The latest example involves an April 1 Gierach exclusive, WEHOville’s quick response and a subsequent WeHo News April 2-3 rebuttal.

The WeHo News articles pertain to some serious business: a West Hollywood city councilman’s alleged misuse of a credit card and Gierach’s accusations that he has been libeled by his cross-town competitor. But there’s also a more light-hearted side-note element that we had to share.

According to Gierach, Scott twice emailed him (in December 2012 and March 2013) to ask whether rumors of WeHo News’ demise were true and offer, generously (?), to cover this developing story. From the 4/2-3 WeHo News item:

Scott has sent WeHo News emails that stated “Rumor going around… that you are no longer publishing. True? If so, care to comment? We’d be happy to do a story…”

Read more Publisher Puts Himself Out There with ‘Ask a Gay’

Take my column, please. That has pretty much been the approach espoused by publisher Henry “Hank” Scott with his weekly column “Ask a Gay.”

Patterned after OC Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano‘s “¡Ask a Mexican!,” Scott’s tongue-in-cheek responses to emailed questions from readers are a bold and brash attempt to connect with a major part of the WeHo constituency. Is it working? We’re not sure, but the format certainly has fun leapfrogging over usual letter-from-the-publisher boundaries. Here for example is how Scott began a recent response to a woman asking whether celebrities still need today to worry about staying in the closet:

So you’re asking me if Tom Cruise is gay? Don’t know. Haven’t slept with him. And seriously, he’s so not my type (I like ‘em edgy and have a thing for shaved heads)…

Read more Publisher’s Career Reaches Back to the Dawn of NYT Website

Henry Scott (pictured), founder and publisher of West Hollywood hyper-local website, has a digital media credential that is hard to beat. He oversaw the launch of the very first online iteration of the New York Times.

“I was a pretty avid user of America Online and I had hit on the idea of how cool it would be to have a site online for the New York Times,” Scott tells FishbowlLA via telephone of his pioneering 1994 effort. “The only way I could think of doing it was through AOL, because no one was creating independent, free-standing websites.”

“I went to my boss at the New York Times and he told me we didn’t have any money,” he continues. “So I then went to Allan Siegal, assistant managing editor, who told me, ‘Do whatever you want… We have a newspaper to put out, just don’t get in our way.’”

The notion of the New York Times budgeting zero dollars for online and leading someone like Scott to knock empty-handed on AOL’s door reminds just how far the Internet has come. Steve Case‘s lieutenants were of course very interested in adding NYT content to AOL and ponied up $500,000.

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A Changing of the West Hollywood Online Media Guard*

To the casual observer, West Hollywood might seem like a perfect fit for the Patch model. The area’s affluent residents consistently support local businesses-events and are acutely interested in “hyper-local” coverage of their community.

But there’s also a general weariness of the media outsider, something the AOL venture has painfully confronted. Compounding matters is the fact that West Hollywood Patch has so far had four different local editors. When “guest editor” James Mills most recently stepped down, he was replaced by the unusual tandem of Beverly Hills Patch LE Mary Cunningham and Patch local area associate editor Brantley Watson.

Now comes a new version of Patch, so to speak – WEHOville. Launched over the weekend, the site has a crisper design and, based on the editorial-sales staff hires by West Hollywood-residing publisher Henry Scott, some fluid short-term financing. But already, there have been hiccups.

Contentious reader comments seem to be disappearing with a little too much frequency, including at least one left in response to a Hillel Aron-contributed piece about former United Methodist Church pastor Scott Imler.* That particular article also boasts a misleading, sensational headline: “The Church vs. the Pothead Pastor.”

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WeHo News Editor Fires Back at

In the comments to an item posted earlier today on FishbowlLA, Henry Scott, publisher of upcoming West Hollywood online news outlet (launching next week), denied that that he had offered to buy half of WeHo News. Ryan Gierach, owner-editor of the latter Web only publication, quickly chimed in via those same comments to restate the 2012 history and challenge Scott’s assertion. He also sent us a longer statement and proof of their spring business dealings.

There’s no doubt a deal was afoot, one that was designed to award Scott a 51% controlling interest in WeHo News. In lieu of the pair’s verbal agreement  giving way to the drafting of an actual deal memo, the gloves are now officially off between West Hollywood’s longstanding online news leader and this friend turned competitive foe.

From Gierach’s emailed statement to FishbowlLA:

Attached is proof [screen shots of email correspondence] of how interested Scott was in purchasing an existing Internet business… It was two days after that last email that, in conversation with him, he made the comments I laid out in the article (although they were more specific and much more demeaning and derisive).

The comments were so offensive that I immediately went to see my therapist to hash out my feelings of betrayal and fear for the future once the rug was pulled from under me. I remain cash strapped and operating on the barest shoestring because of his decision to rescind his offer. Fortunately, there have been few times in the past seven years of operating WeHo News when I was NOT under-capitalized.

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WeHo News Publisher Susses Out Some New Competition

Ryan Gierach, owner of online publication WeHo News, has some unique insights to share about Henry Scott, the man behind, a competitor scheduled to launch next week. That’s because a few months after Scott moved to West Hollywood from the east coast in October 2011, he offered to buy one half of Gierach’s publication.

Gierach writes that the two forged a “firm verbal agreement,” only to have the deal fall through in May:

Scott told Gierach that: a) he would not consider investing in a web-based news source, preferring to remain in print media; b) his own projects prevented him from committing sufficient time and energy to publishing a media outlet; c) WeHo News’ reporting failed to meet his own editorial standards; and d) if he were to take on WeHo News, he would not only want a majority position, he would push founding publisher and editor Mr. Gierach out to take a 100 percent ownership position while “possibly” offering him employment as an editor.

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