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Posts Tagged ‘Marc Cooper’

A Good Example of Aaron Kushner’s Media M.O.

From the outset of Aaron Kushner’s reign as owner-publisher of the Orange County Register, we’ve been impressed by his willingness to engage not just the community but also outside reporters and critics.

In this latest example, Kushner took the initiative via email. The context for his correspondence with USC professor Marc Cooper and website Voice of OC was an old journalism axiom, a pair of articles by Adam Elmahrek and a related Romenesko report of some March 6 newsroom comments by Kushner.

Last night, Voice of OC published two emails sent by Kushner (one to both Cooper and Voice of OC, one to just Cooper) as well as Cooper’s response. From Kushner’s first email:

There are many ways a newspaper serves its community. One important way is by holding those in power accountable for their use of that power. That is why in just the last six months the Register has hired more investigative reporters and journalists to cover city halls and Orange County business and political leaders than every other newspaper in America combined. How we cover those in power with one of the largest watchdog and beat reporting teams in the country is about getting it right, which includes tone. I agree with Marc that there is no dichotomy between being respectful and having robust coverage of our community and those who lead it.

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Change in OC Register’s Political Advertising Policy Raises Eyebrows

We’re not trying to take Aaron Kushner‘s side here. But we do applaud the fact that this particular media company owner replied to a hot-potato-topic query from Voice of OC reporter Adam Elmahrek:

Kushner, who responded by email within hours, acknowledged that the Register recently adjusted its policy regarding political advertising. He said, however, that the policy was changed because “we don’t like negative political advertisements,” not out of support for Anaheim’s council majority.

“It was brought to our attention that the Register has had an inconsistent process for reviewing political advertising, which we are working to address and make more systematic,” Kushner wrote. “This is not a comment or endorsement of any particular politician or political cause but a systematic review of our process as we strive to better serve Orange County in everything that we do.”

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Neon Tommy Pays Its Staffers

We caught this tweet from the feed of USC’s online newspaper Neon Tommy yesterday. And it blew our minds! Neon Tommy is paying its student editorial staffers? That can’t be right, can it? We exchanged emails with USC Annenberg director of digital news Marc Cooper yesterday, who informed us that, yes, Neon Tommy has had a policy of paying its staffers for quite some time.

“We have about 20 editors, reporters and promo/[social media] people getting paid. Very part-time, around $100-200 a week. But it’s something.”

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Slake ‘War and Peace’ Reading Tonight at Skylight

It’s been a little over a year since LA’s only lit mag Slake made its debut. And tonight marks another milestone. The mag will be holding the first reading for its third issue “War and Peace” tonight at 7:30 at Skylight Books in Los Feliz. We’re told there will be free fancypants coffee and readings by James Greer, John Waldman and Ernest Hardy among others.

Slake is also having a second reading on Sunday at Vroman’s, featuring two generations of Coopers–both Marc Cooper and his daughter, author Natasha Vargas-Cooper, will be reading.

Big weekend for Slake. More info here.

Rainey vs Stewart vs Cooper vs Lacey


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

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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The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood Continues

Natasha Vargas-Cooper has published her second installation in her series about the trial of Jesse James Hollywood. Hollywood is being charged with the murder of local teen Nick Markowitz, a crime that inspired the Nick Cassavetes‘ film “Alpha Dog.” The victim was a childhood friend of Vargas-Cooper. Here she recounts the last time she saw him alive, at a party populated by unsupervised teenagers:

As the night drifted on, the crowd at this house party got older and surlier. I spotted Nick sitting across the table from a pudgy kid who was called “Crack.” They were negotiating over something. The deliberations weren’t going in Nick’s favor. Crack punched Nick right in the face. Nick stood completely frozen. His eyes began to well up. He squinted at Crack, who looked ready to strike again. Nick surveyed the crowd and ran out of the house, in tears. Ben’s friends killed Nick two months later.

Like the first piece in the series, Vargas-Cooper’s story moves between memories of her murdered friend and details of the current trial. It’s a credit to the writer that her account of both is never either detached or overwrought- an it’s likely also a credit to her upbringing. Vargas-Cooper is the daughter of local journalist and USC professor Marc Cooper. We reckon that is as close as a body can get to being raised inside a journalism school.

Previously on FBLA:
The Trial Of Jesse James Hollywood

Drinking Problem? Or Drinking Solution?

We may have mentioned once or twice that our preferred method of dealing with the economic downturn and the collapse of print media is alcoholism. To that end, your FBLA editors gathered at a Silverlake bar last night with some of LA’s finest underemployed scribes.


Linda Immediato, Steffie Nelson, and Caroline Ryder

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Todd Sternisha and Marc Cooper

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LAT FOB: Media: Where Do We Go From Here? Panel


The “Media: Where Do We Go From Here?” panel was moderated by LAT media scribe James Rainey. The panelists were Voice of San Diego’s Andrew Donohue, Marc Cooper, TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman and Arianna Huffington.

Waxman strangely mentioned Nikki Finke‘s name five times during the panel. The first time there was laughter from the (clearly) media wonky audience. The second and third times were just in passing. The last two times was after Rainey asked Waxman to clarify who she was talking about.

When asked what Waxman reads on a daily basis she said,”I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading the LA Times. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading their stories I should read elsewhere.”

Cooper said,”What I read is my computer. I read my computer and my mobile phone.”

Huffington stated,”I read physical newspapers.” Which got an applause break.

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Prof at Anneberg Said Sac Bee Outsourcing Governor Race Coverage to College Paper

At the Media Panel, Marc Cooper, formerly of LA Weekly, current teacher at the USC Annenberg School said that the Sacramento Bee called him and wants to use the staff of Neon Tommy to cover the gubernatorial race because they don’t have the staff to do it.

“Neon Tommy, Tommy the Trojan.” Said Cooper. Which made us think for a minute that it was a play on prophylactics – but then it would be Neon Jimmy. Tommy is apparently the nickname for the school mascot.

Uhm, okay.

Anyway, is it wrong to want someone who is old enough to have voted in the recall election to be covering the highest office in the state race for the biggest paper in the state capital?

Cooper sent us this:

Allow me a clarification on the above piece. We have had only one third-party contact with the Sac Bee regarding a possible collaboration on the Governor’s race. There is no sense that the Bee will “outsource” its coverage to Neon Tommy. Any reporting done by USC students on this issue would supplement not supplant the work done by the Bee. To date, this is just an embryonic notion which, from our perspective, we hope will materialize in a fruitful way for both organizations. But it should be crystal clear that Neon Tommy is NOT being called upon to provide principal coverage of an issue that is of prime expertise for the Bee. Thanks.

Marc Cooper
“Neon Tommy”
USC Annenberg School

UPDATE: The original headline to this post was “Sac Bee Outsourcing Governor Race Coverage to College Paper”. And due to the implication, it was changed to reflect what actually happened, which is Marc Cooper SAID that to reporters and around 200 people at a panel.

Also see: LAT FOB: Media: Where Do We Go From Here? Panel