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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Larkin’

New Owners — Kind Of — For LA Weekly

Village Voice Media, the parent company of the LA Weekly, is dismantling. The company’s 13 alternative newspapers are being purchased by a group of top VVM executives, led by chief operating officer Scott Tobias. The new owners are calling themselves Voice Media Group and will operate out of Denver. Tobias will serve as CEO, Jeff Mars (formerly VVM’s vice president of financial operation) will be chief financial officer, and Christine Brennan (formerly the executive managing editor of VVM) will serve as executive editor for the new company.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Brennan, a.k.a. “The Wicked Witch of Westword,” sure does like to fire people, (or “cut the fat” as she puts it) so we can probably expect more carnage on the alt-weekly horizon. Fingers crossed it doesn’t reach the LA Weekly.

Our hometown alt-weekly was last purchased in 2005 when New Times Media, run by Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, purchased Village Voice Media and adopted the company name. Lacey and Larkin will retain Backpage.com, the online classified ad site that was the most profitable — and controversial — part of Village Voice Media.

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Village Voice Media Brass Got Pay Cut

lacey and larkin-thumb-225x163.jpgWe’ve been covering the copious cutbacks in staff at the LA Weekly. We found this internal memo via Romenesko about further reductions:

We are also going to take these additional measures effective January 1, 2009:

1) All VVM senior managers and officers, including Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey, are taking 15% pay reductions.

2) VVM Publishers and Editors are taking 10% pay reductions until our revenues begin to grow again.

3) We will suspend the Village Voice Media match into our 401-K plan. The plan will still remain open and we urge you to take advantage of the tax deferred personal savings advantages.

Still doesn’t make up for laying people off on Christmas Eve. That could have waited a week, huh?

New Times Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin Arrested

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New Times executives Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin were arrested at their homes in Phoenix, last night. They were charged with revealing grand jury secrets, after writing a story that told readers:

In a breathtaking abuse of the United States Constitution, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, and their increasingly unhinged cat’s paw, special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik, used the grand jury to subpoena “all documents related to articles and other content published by Phoenix New Times newspaper in print and on the Phoenix New Times website, regarding Sheriff Joe Arpaio from January 1, 2004 to the present.”

Every note, tape, and record from every story written about Sheriff Arpaio by every reporter over a period of years.

All readers’ information from 2004 until the present from the website was also subpoena’ed.

David Carr in the NY Times writes:

Steve Suskin, legal counsel for Village Voice Media, said that the arrests on misdemeanor charges of the newspaper executives represent an escalation in the conflict between The Phoenix New Times and Sheriff Arpaio, who has received national attention for his reputation for running tough jails.

Los Angeles sure is dull. When’s the last time anyone at the LA Times got so much as a parking ticket?

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.