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Posts Tagged ‘Mary McNamara’

LAT Entertainment Journos Talk to ASU Students About the Job at Hand

Talk about an informative field trip stop. Last month, a group of students from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication came to LA and got to listen to the following LA Times entertainment journalists panel March 12: Steven Zeitchik, Amy Kaufman, Chris Lee, John Horn, Mary McNamara, Meg James, Scott Collins and Dawn Chmielewski.

The event was part of an ASU west coast swing titled “Covering the Business of Entertainment,” which has also encompassed visits to studio lots. From the Reynolds Center report about the panel discussion:

Kaufman said that reporters have to be careful about what information is on and off the record. It’s not a good idea to ruin a relationship with a publicist or contact, she added.

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Personal Essay Writing: Master Class

Personal Essay Writing: Master ClassStarting October 21, work with the senior editor at Marie Claire magazine to polish and publish your essay! Whitney Joiner will help you to develop your voice, narrative, and identity, draft your pitch, and decide where to market your essay. Register now!

John Corrigan to Lead LA Times A&E Coverage

The Los Angeles Times announced Wednesday that John Corrigan will succeed Sallie Hofmeister as the assistant managing editor for arts & entertainment.

Corrigan has been at the LAT since 1999 and was most recently the business editor.

“John brings a wealth of experience and energy to his new role,” said editor in chief Davan Maharaj in a memo. “As Business editor, he led a team of reporters and editors in making our financial report a model:  a combination of elegant features, hard-hitting investigative stories, and quick-hit breaking news on our blogs.”

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TV Critic Recalls Gil Cates’ Words of Wisdom

Just a few months after Gil Cates told LA Times reporter Mary McNamara that he was amenable to engineering a 15th Oscars telecast, the much loved 77-year-old director, producer, founder of the Geffen Playhouse and two-term president of the Directors Guild of America has passed away.

In writing about him today, McNamara highlights some advice that Brett Ratner, Don Mishner and first-time host Eddie Murphy may well want to pay attention to. Cates, who entered the Oscar TV show producing fray in 1990, said the key is not to try and re-invent the wheel:

Cates brought a matter-of-fact understanding of the show, its strengths and its limitations, that is harder to replicate. “It is what it is,” he said when we last spoke of the future of the Oscars. “It’s a big beautiful television show about the movies.”

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The Great HBO ‘Tits vs. Breasts’ Debate

You know you’re reading summertime journalism when the great issue of the day is “tits vs. breasts” on television. Over the holiday weekend, LA Times TV critic Mary McNamara wrote a piece decrying HBO–in particular its show Game of Thrones–for its unnecessary depictions of naked people, particularly topless women.

Wrote McNamara:

[M]aybe it’s time to tone down the tits.

I write the word knowing it is going to render my editors and readers apoplectic — why not use the less crude “breasts?” Because I don’t mean breasts. Breasts are what you see on cable during a lovemaking scene or when a character is caught unawares or when, as in the season finale of “Game of Thrones,” the last of the Targaryens rises, naked and miraculous, from her husband’s funeral pyre with three baby dragons clinging to her.

Tits are what you see in a strip club or a brothel, when conversations or action between men, which usually have nothing to do with said strip club or brothel, are surrounded by nameless and silent women lounging or gyrating about in various stages of undress.

That piece was followed up today with a ferocious defense of defrocked sweater puppies by Salon TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, who called McNamara’s editorial “a tediously moralizing strain in American criticism, one which insists that all sex and nudity must be dramatically “justified,” even if it occurs on a TV series based on a highly sexual series of fantasy novels that take place in a male-dominated world in which women fight tooth and nail for power, and achieve it.”

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Our ‘Jay Leno Sucks’ Round-Up

We were trying to find some television critic who just loved Jay Leno‘s return to the Tonight Show. We dug through a bunch of bad reviews, some just tepid and then finally gave up. So instead we have a round up of some of the more interesting reviews. The general theme is that Leno is stale. But he beat Dave Letterman last night. So, uh, yeah…

  • USA Today‘s Arienne Thompson call the new show “underwhelming.”

  • The least critical read in the world, People, “predictable.”

  • LAT’s Mary McNamara puts it the most diplomatically, “Dick Cheney jokes, George Bush jokes, Cheerios jokes and a ‘new bit’ entitled ‘How Boring Is Alan Greenspan?’”

  • Matthew Greenberg at True/Slant is more direct, “a stunning display of tone deafness that ranged from bland to weird to uncomfortable and offensive.”

  • Hank Stuever at WaPo wrote, “Leno is talented in the most mediocre of ways.”

    Ouch.

  • LAT Storytelling Experiment

    Yesterday the LA Times ran the first chapter in a serial fiction project. It’s a story written in short installments, each by a different author. The tale is called “Money Walks” and it will be published in the Calendar section six times a week, with the conclusion coming April 24. Contributing writers include Mary McNamara, Seth Greenland, Marisa Silver, Aimee Bender, Denise Hamilton and Jerry Stahl. It’s an interesting mash-up of literary voices, and we look forward to following the resulting work.

    The first chapter, by Mary McNamara, can be read here

    The second chapter, by Seth Greenland, can be read here

    LAT In 90 Seconds

    42719382-03002941.jpgYou Betcha: Mary McNamara notes that the real losers of last night’s VP debate were the pundits who were handicapping it: “If the bar had been placed any lower for this debate, they would have had to bury it. So how surprising was it, really, that neither candidate devolved into a Jerry Springer screaming fit or fell into a state of catatonia? In fact, both were in rare form, giving what may have been their best respective campaign performances yet.” So there.

    pallidfsdfn3.jpg But Can She Field-Dress A Moose? She’s no Tina Fey, but doesn’t Monica Corcoran kinda rock Sarah Palin‘s ‘do?

    pynchonsticker_1003.jpgBest “News” We’ve Heard Today: Time was, whispers and rumors wouldn’t make it into a paper of record. Good thing we’re not living in those times! Carolyn Kellogg hips readers to an Internet rumor that Thomas Pynchon‘s next novel is coming out in 2009! Is it true? Who knows? Is it exciting? You betcha!

    LAT In 90 Seconds

    42492943.jpg-30-: Mary Garber, “the only woman to win sports journalism’s highest honor, the Red Smith Award given annually by the Associated Press Sports Editors, died Sunday afternoon at a retirement home in Winston-Salem. She was 92.”

    42498689.jpgStonehenge! New findings confirms researchers’ beliefs that Stonehenge “was an ancient Lourdes where pilgrims congregated to have their wounds and illnesses magically healed.” And the story about the findings confirms our belief that Thomas H. Maugh II has the coolest job at the LAT.

    42495626-21222037.jpgTruest Line of the Night: While describing Ricky Gervais as the only redeeming light in last night’s hideous Emmy Awards show, Mary McNamara admits that Gervais alone was not enough, as “no single man or presenter could completely save a show that showcased a medley of famous TV theme songs performed by Josh Groban.”

    LAT In 90 Seconds

    42299559.jpgGibson on Palin, Finnegan on Gibson: Charlie Gibson was tough on Sarah Palin in the first of their two ABC interviews, but we think Michael Finnegan was even tougher on Gibson: “Gibson, however, mischaracterized her as simply asserting that the nation’s leaders were sending troops to Iraq on a task from God. (snip) Gibson went on to take a second part of her comments out of context.”

    palin_500.jpgGibson on Palin, McNamara on Gibson: Mary McNamara had a clearer (we think) take on the whole interview: “Everyone seemed to forget that this is a vice presidential candidate, a public servant who should not be playing hard to get with reporters and whose main job it is to articulate the positions and policies of her ticket. Even Gibson acted as if he feared this might be the one shot the entire Fourth Estate gets, conducting what was essentially a high-level, high-pressure interview with a job candidate who quickly revealed that her skill set is heavy on can-do-attitude, and light on company policy comprehension.”

    PH2008091200448.jpgMcCain on Fact-checkers, Rainey on McCain: James Rainey comes to the defense of news organizations like FactCheck.org: “News organizations and these admirable truth-squadding outfits, including PolitiFact.com, do not collaborate. But in independent news reports and commentaries this week, they seemed to reach a consensus to say ‘enough’ to the McCain camp’s efforts to demonize Barack Obama.”

    Gay Marriage: Covering the Coverage

    _44757958_-19.jpgMary McNamara notes in today’s LAT that the TV news coverage of gay marriage was boring. Gay people. Getting married. Legally.

    And yet the “stories from various California courthouses were so uniform in their well-wishing tameness that they bordered on dull.”

    We’re not entirely sure what she wanted out of the coverage, but anything involving George Takei is not, by nature, going to be too exciting.

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