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Posts Tagged ‘Jill Stewart’

James Rainey vs Jill Stewart Redux

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Jill Stewart penned a rebuttal to James Rainey’s “take-down” piece about the LA Weekly.

Since LATimes.com is crashing on and off due to the Michael Jackson deluge, we have posted then entire piece after the break, but here’s an excerpt:

Rainey accuses me of being an ideologue. Isn’t he talking about himself? I suspect that he cannot abide a mixed-bag political mutt like me, a lifelong Democrat raised in a working-class union household, yet one who finds the Democratic leaders now running most of L.A.’s political and civic institutions to be doing an exceptionally poor job of it. That’s news, and we at the Weekly will continue to cover it.

After their servers catch up – the story should be here.

Previously on FBLA:

  • Rainey vs Stewart vs Cooper vs Lacey
  • James Rainey vs Jill Stewart

    Read more

  • Rainey vs Stewart vs Cooper vs Lacey

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    The slugfest continues. As we mentioned yesterday, VVM Executive Editor Mike Lacey responded via a blog post to the recent LA Times story critical of the LA Weekly and its news editor Jill Stewart. Lacey ranted against the author of the story, James Rainey, and his only named source, Marc Cooper. Lacey called Cooper “a bitter, disgruntled former employee,” and yesterday evening Cooper responded with a note in the blog comments, which can be read below.

    But before we type another word about the matter, we should admit that your FBLA editors are biased. We have worked for the LA Weekly, we like the LA Weekly. We know Cooper and Stewart, and would like to note that both are kind to small animals and secretaries. Wouldn’t trust Mike Lacey with a gerbil. Full disclosure.

    On with the show-

    From Marc Cooper:

    Aha! The omnipotent Editor-in-Chief of the Village Voice Media speaks! I see this was posted around 5 p.m. which is no wonder given that later in the day he might encounter, um, some motor-impaired difficulties in typing. And as usual, we hear from Lacey almost exclusively when he is moved to publish an attack on a former employee. Classy guy that he is.

    I am not going to lower myself to responding point by point to someone whose only journalistic distinction is having gutted a half-dozen or so of the best metro weeklies in America.

    I am compelled, however, to correct the record.

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    James Rainey vs Jill Stewart Continues

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    Michael Lacy, executive editor of Village Voice Media goes after Marc Cooper and James Rainey for their attacks on Jill Stewart and LA Weekly.

    When we dispensed with Cooper’s column, few took note, e-mails did not rain down upon us, the Columbia Journalism Review did not question our judgment. Except for Cooper’s blog, where he bled thousands upon thousands of words about the demise of the Weekly, the world continued apace.

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    James Rainey vs Jill Stewart

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    James Rainey‘s column today in the LAT ends like this:

    I don’t see the Weekly regaining its equilibrium as long as Stewart remains in charge of the news section. It’s likely that a new top editor will be brought in from outside.

    But no one I talked to expects the bombastic Ms. Stewart to be going anywhere any time soon.

    So Jill Stewart sent us this letter which we have printed in full:

    Hi there,

    I wanted to tell my colleagues and friends in journalism and blogging that James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times did not contact me for his take-down attempt column about me today, published during the very same week in which news-side stories I assigned and edited blew the Times out of the water at the Los Angeles Press Club awards. These awards, announced five days ago, were judged entirely by journalists in other major cities around the nation to avoid local favoritism. And then yesterday, a young reporter who won a major award for a piece that I assigned and edited beat The New York Times and was in Washington, D.C. collecting his award.

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    Christine Pelisek is a Finalist for IRE

    3146835.11.jpgYay for Christine!

    Jill Stewart
    sent FBLA this email:

    Christine Pelisek has been awarded the finalist prize by the globally prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors for that organization’s highly coveted Tom Renner Award, which honors outstanding reported on organized crime or other criminal acts.

    Christine’s amazing scoop and work on the Grim Sleeper serial killer was beat out for the top medal in this highly competitive category by a team of 14 journalists in 10 countries (see below). Christine Pelisek is the only journalist in America to be honored by IRE with a “finalist” nod for the Renner Award — no others entries were named, aside from the winning team covering the Tobacco Underground.

    It’s an incredible nod to a dedicated reporter working entirely alone for many years to pursue a single hunch that turned out to be true. Congratulations Christine, and dinner is on me.

    FBLA Trolls WeHo – Finds Journos

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    We went to Patrick Range McDonald‘s birthday party in West Hollywood on Saturday. Here we are pictured with McDonald (in the middle) and Variety’s Ted Johnson.

    Other notables at the party include Michael Weinstein, founder of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Mike Gatto, attorney and politico at Mayer Brown, Miki Jackson and John Walsh, who host Neighborhood Point of View (the cable access show), Japhy Grant, editor of Queerty.com, Rick Jacobs, founder of Courage Campaign, Christine Pelisek, staff writer at LA Weekly, Daniel Heimpel and Max Taves, freelancers at the Weekly Jill Stewart, deputy news editor at LA Weekly David Hernandez, longtime gadfly and public access producer Sabrina Venskus, environmental attorney, B. Daniel Blatt, blogger at GayPatriot.net, Tom Whitman, nightlife promoter, Nick Velasquez, Rocky Delgadillo‘s spokesman, writer Luke Thompson and Jim Hoffmaster, character actor.

    Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was, of course, invited but didn’t show. Which was both disappointing and expected…just like his stint as mayor.

    LA Press Club Elects New Board Members

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    The LA Press Club had their annual elections and chose new board members. Now scan for names of people you know…go on…that’s why we’re all here:

    The Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Press Club (LAPC) is comprised of 14 Board Members that serve two-year terms. Every year, half of the seats are up for election and this year brought in some new and old faces. Day-to-day operations are still run by working international journalist and LAPC Executive Director, Diana Ljungaeus, and USA reporter, Chris Woodyard is the President of its Board of Directors.

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    LA Weekly Answers Mayor V

    mayorv222.jpgAs we reported yesterday, after LA Weekly wrote a critical article about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in September, and then he defended himself with the LA Daily News last week.

    Basically, the Weekly reported that Villaraigosa only does city business (according to his schedule) with 11% of his time. So Villaraigosa said that it wasn’t true because the Weekly only got his public calendar. Whole story is here.

    Jill Stewart sent FBLA this email:

    The question for us is, wtf is Antonio saying, exactly, in his slam on us?

    Is Antonio saying that he has a second set of books that detail his real schedule and that prove he does actual city business? That would be news to us, and a big ethical breach by him if true, for withholding it from us. And that would be a really juicy new story.

    More likely, and the only other possibility, is that the mayor lied when he said: “… they were upset because we only gave them my public calendar. They didn’t get to see what I was doing privately, with meetings here (at City Hall) or in other places.”

    Nuh uh Tony. Never happened.

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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.
    ###

    Roderick tries to swipe FBLA, but swings, misses, nurses sore paw.

    Mike Lacey, Diane Ljungaeus Defend LA Weekly, Jill Stewart Against LA Observed

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    Village Voice honcho Mike Lacey writes LA Observed a letter to set things straight about the LA Weekly’s cross town move, editors, departing writers, and just about everything, and after checking around to make sure it wasn’t a fake and hearing from Lacey’s lawyer–KRod posts it, with annotations. Laurie Ochoa wrote him as well, despite his claims to never hear from her.

    FBLA hears that a few other people have written to protest his increasingly personal attacks on LA Weekly news editor Jill Stewart, who’s been our editor a few times. One of these is Diana Lungaeus of the LA Press Club, who kindly allowed us to post her letter here:

    From: “Diana Ljungaeus”
    To:
    Subject: Defending Jill Stewart
    Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 00:11:45 -0800

    Kevin,
    I had really hoped to stay out of this for several reasons – one being that I am the executive director of Los Angeles Press Club. Let me, therefore, point out that I am writing this solely as a friend and colleague of Jill Stewart. To see her persecuted by LA Observed in the way that I have witnessed of late not only hurts her, but damages journalism itself. Jill would never, not even in “attack-mode,” single out another writer by name as untrustworthy or unethical. She of course gladly will go after news institutions and their weak, non-substantive, gossipy news coverage.

    Your description of Jill as somebody journalists cannot work with couldn’t be further from the truth. I know this because for several years we worked together on the Press Club board, where she was a popular leader–managing to get busy journalists to work as a team even though this often can be compared to herding cats. And, most importantly, she did this with good humor and was well-liked, even by writers from competitor organizations. Among her many responsibilities she was the editor for our newsletter, The 8 Ball, for four years. During this period she motivated a large mix of volunteers to take time out from their busy schedules to write for the 8 Ball–Bob Baker, Alex Ben Block, Michael Collins, Ted Johnson, myself and Karen Ocamb, to mention a few.

    We all know Jill as a hard worker who makes things happen. I also know Jill as an editor, having written for her for the Weekly. Not many others would have given me that chance, knowing I write English as a second language. My first assignment for Jill was “Malibu Bad Neighbor,” about the son of an African dictator who bought the most expensive home in Malibu and is trying to become a force in Hollywood. The story was ignored by local media, even though a national network currently is digging into it–thanks to the Weekly coverage.

    Another reason I am inclined to defend her is that Jill brings solid news coverage to LA Weekly. Jill marches to the beat of her own drum and we sometimes disagree, however, she is “independent” in the deepest sense of that word and I salute her for it!

    Diana Ljungaeus

    Some speculate that Stewart’s take down of the LA Times’ Arnold groping stories may have cost that team of writers a Pulitzer nod. Could Roderick be trying to avenge the John Carroll crowd? And after the paper had been so nice to him, too.

    Earlier:
    Wiener & Pals Recall the Good Old Days at the LA Weekly—It’s All Jill Stewart’s Fault
    Jill Stewart in at LA Weekly, Alan Mittelstaedt Out

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