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Posts Tagged ‘James Rainey’

LAT Rains on KCET’s Parade

It’s entirely logical for LA Times media critic James Rainey to take a look at the fortunes of KCET on the occasion of the independent TV station’s move to shiny new facilities in Burbank. But talk about putting a damper on the new-office euphoria.

The headline writer soft-pedals the piece somewhat, framing it with the neutral tag “The Future of KCET.” Six paragraphs in however, that future begins to sound pretty grim:

“There is no way, absolutely no way, that KCET can survive as a television station,” said Jack Shakely, former head of the giant California Community Foundation, which once contributed to KCET programs and pledge drives. “They are like the bookstore that opens just when all other bookstores are awash in red ink, a bookstore that cannot sell bestsellers, can’t sell popular classics, sells books you’ve never heard of and then asks you to contribute to the bookstore anyway.”

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A Drake Cover Story, Deconstructed

With rapper Drake adorning the April 2012 cover of GQ, LA Times media critic James Rainey pegs it as the latest example of the glossy monthly magazine staple known as the date-as-interview. In these cases, the reporter acts as a surrogate for the respective gender side of a publication’s celebrity-adoring readership.

The author of the GQ cover story is Claire Hoffman, a one-time LA Times staffer. Here’s what she told Rainey about her latest, impressive celebrity “get:”

“It’s not brain-surgery hard, but it’s hard,” said Hoffman. “The conceit is always that you are going to get in there and discover them in some way they haven’t been discovered before.”

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Journos React to Surprising OC Register Layoff

It’s certainly not unusual, sadly, to hear about another round of layoffs at a SoCal daily newspaper. But the idea that the Orange County Register would not be able to find a way to keep Latina columnist Yvette Cabrera on staff is truly mind-boggling.

FishbowlLA was tipped to this development around the same time that James Rainey sent out the first tweet and Kevin Roderick got up the first post. Cabrera is the executive director president of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California and was voted Best Columnist in 2011 by the OC press club.

So far, the most impassioned and detailed reaction to this developing layoff news (word is as many as eight other Register staffers may also be involved) comes from Gustavo Arellano of the OC Weekly. He writes:

Yvette was always kind to me, penning articles on various members of my family over the years. I, on the other hand, didn’t return the favor, both as part of the “Spy vs. Spy” game that is the rivalry between the Reg and your favorite infernal rag, and because I always wanted her to be tougher, more radical, more of an Agustín Gurza than a feel-good columnist. Immaturity on my part, I can now say with a bit more years under my belt.

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James Rainey, Brian Stelter Get the Bill O’Reilly Treatment


The Daily Caller‘s Tucker Carlson went on The O’Reilly Factor to talk about his latest “investigative” scoop. That would be his story on how various left-leaning columnists across America receive and report, without attribution, “propaganda” directly from the liberal media criticism site Media Matters. Among those with a propaganda inbox are LA Times media critic James Rainey and New York Times media writer Brian Stelter. Interestingly, Carlson’s story doesn’t cite a single example of either writer using Media Matters content. Instead, Carlson’s anonymous “insider” sources tell him they do.

Quite the scoop.

We reached out to Rainey to ask about his Media Matters-propaganda-using-ways, but haven’t heard back yet.

Media Exec John Paton Airs His Digital Views in the Analog World

Digitally-oriented media mogul John Paton got a nice fat profile in the LA Times over the weekend, courtesy of James Rainey. Paton is the CEO of Digital First Media, the Journal Register Company and Media News–and oversees the Daily News, Pasadena Star-News, Long Beach Press-Telegram and the Daily Breeze, among a few hundred other papers and media outlets across the country. Paton is a one-time copy boy for the Toronto Sun, who has made it big as a media executive by pushing his newspapers to embrace digital journalism–and pushing hard.

Writes Rainey:

Paton and his Digital First Media — a management company established four months ago that now oversees the recently bankrupt Journal Register and MediaNews chains — have put a 21st century spin on “Stop the presses!” Reporters post video before writing news stories, tweet to their readers in search of news tips and invite customers into news meetings to help mull story choices.

Ad reps had better be pushing Facebook placements, email blasts and online video ads. Paton’s mantra: “Stack digital dimes to match print dollars.”

The roundish chief executive with the insouciant Sydney Greenstreet affect displays a notable lack of sentimentality for parts of his lifelong trade. He has said that traditional print journalism has a value of “about zero,” urged that newspaper people stop listening to other newspaper people, and stated that the public “knows more than we do” about their towns.

Paton later qualifies those statements by arguing that newspapers are no longer fit for breaking news, when stories can be posted on the web at a moment’s notice. Which is true. But he never disputes the notion that John Q. Public somehow knows more about their town than reporters do. We’d encourage Paton to take a stroll around LA and ask people on the street if they can name all the city council members. Or even their own city council member.

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On Chelsea Clinton and NBC

Chelsea Clinton has a new job as a “special correspondent” for NBC Nightly News as well as the network’s new TV-magazine, Rock Center With Brian Williams. James Rainey‘s piece on the Clinton hire notes that Chelsea’s entry into media is fairly ironic, given her legendary unwillingness to be interviewed.

True to her long-standing practice, Clinton declined to speak to anyone in the media after NBC’s announcement. She strenuously avoided interviews during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential run, even refusing to speak to a 9-year-old reporter from Scholastic News. The child wanted to know what kind of “First Man” Bill Clinton might be.

“Chelsea Clinton has loathed the news media for most of her life,” Don Van Natta, a New York Times reporter, wrote via Twitter. “So it makes sense she has decided to join us and refuse to be interviewed.” The journalist co-authored a book about Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There’s no doubt that Chelsea has what it takes intellectually to handle the job. But we can’t help but be skeptical about NBC hiring someone with zero media experience. Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean you know storytelling. Or basic journalism for that matter. There are plenty of equally brilliant journalists out there looking for work. Granted, we’re talking about TV here and not the national desk at a major newspaper–a position that would require more rigor. Still, this thing has gimmick written all over it.

James Rainey Trading Media Column for Reporting

James Rainey wrote his last “On the Media” column for the Los Angeles Times Saturday, as the columnist will focus more on reporting on the media going forward.

LA Observed has the memo from the LAT announcing Rainey’s new role at the newspaper:

To: The Staff
From: Sallie Hofmeister, Assistant Managing Editor
Craig Turner, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Jim Rainey is taking on a new assignment, applying his formidable reporting, analytical and writing skills to the beat that he has skillfully covered as a columnist for more than three years. Starting next week, Jim will be doing longer investigations, profiles and analyses of the media world that we expect will land him regularly on A1, in Column One and on the Sunday and daily Calendar covers.

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Steve Jobs Wasn’t a Huge Fan of the Media

Los Angeles Times media columnist James Rainey penned an excellent column on the late Steve Jobs and his relationship with the media.

As Rainey points out, the former Apple co-founder and CEO had a rocky relationship to say the very least with the media:

Conventional wisdom will vindicate Jobs’ media strategy. His products sold. His company grew to one of the biggest in the world. And reporters waited desperately for morsels about the slightest reconfiguration of the iPhone, iPod or MacBook. But because Jobs’ command and control paradigm worked at Apple doesn’t mean he was always right, or that his methods could be duplicated by lesser figures.

The tactics also created a perverse climate of breathless, under-informed speculation every time an Apple pod, pad or book was due for a launch or modification — which was essentially all the time. Addition of a data port on one device could draw oohs and ahhs in multiple stories..

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The Media and America’s Class Divide

In his On the Media column today, the LA TimesJames Rainey argues that the media needs to start leading a serious, realistic discussion of class in America.

Even though economists say the gap between haves and have-nots has been building for three decades, the growing income disparity and its causes have come up for discussion mostly as a sidebar — removed from the front page, rarely the lead story on the evening news.

It’s hard to know why arguably the central story of our times — featuring the retreat of the stable, single-wage household — has been pushed off the front burner.

We can think of a bunch of reasons.

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Marketplace Grows as the Economy Tanks

In his latest column, LA Times media critic James Rainey sends some love to Marketplace–the LA-based public radio program that has helped create a mini radio empire of 9.3 million listeners per week. That’s up from 5.3 million back in 2001.

Rainey credits Marketplace with being virtually the only economic show not based out of New York to find any popular success. He credits this to the show’s emphasis on the human side of the economy, not simple CNBC-style sucking up to the moneyed elite. (He doesn’t put it quite as bluntly as that.)

Snippets of “We’re in the Money” or “Stormy Weather” accompany the show’s good or bad news on the markets, refrains so ubiquitous that they join talk doyenne Terry Gross’ purr and the incessant cackle of the “Car Talk” guys as the signature sounds of public radio.

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