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Posts Tagged ‘Maura Johnston’

Maura Johnston Bets on Her Own Brand with Launch of App

Maura Johnston is about to find out just how much influence she has in the writing world. Johnston, a widely respected journalist who was laid off from the Village Voice in September, is launching an iOS app magazine titled Maura Magazine tomorrow, and the hope is that enough people trust her editorial judgement to keep it afloat.

Columbia Journalism Review reports that for “$0.99 weekly, $2.99 monthly, or $29.99 annually, readers will get about five cultural stories every week automatically delivered to their iPhones and iPads.” Articles that “massage the part of your brain that goes into a coma” will be penned by the likes of Johnston, Jolie Kerr and J. Pablo.

We’re excited to check out Maura Magazine, and our collective fingers are crossed that it works out. If nothing else, you have to admire Johnston for having the courage to try something new that — at least at first — depends almost entirely on her own name.

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Village Voice Adds Music Editor

Mere days after the Village Voice lost editor-in-chief Tony Ortega and music editor Maura Johnston was fired, the paper has named a successor for the latter. According to The New York TimesBrian McManus will be the Voice’s new music editor.

McManus’ work has appeared in Philadelphia Weekly, Houston Press, The Chicago Reader, SF Weekly and more. He has also written one book.

A replacement for Ortega has not been named yet.

Ben Westhoff Promoted to Senior Music Editor for Village Voice Media

LA Weekly music editor Ben Westhoff has been promoted by the paper’s parent company to the position of senior music editor, and will now be in charge of music coverage for all 13 of the Village Voice Media’s alternative newsweeklies. He tells FishbowlLA, “My primary responsibilities are still as LA Weekly music editor.”

Westhoff also responded to David Carr‘s suggestion that he had something to do with the recent departure of Village Voice music editor Maura Johnston:

My responsibilities do not include hiring/firing, so I didn’t fire Maura. I wouldn’t say there was a power struggle, and overall I admired her writing.

Westhoff has a long history with Village Voice Media papers. He got his start in journalism as a freelance writer with the SF Weekly, and later went on to become a staff writer at the Riverfront Times in St. Louis. He has also written for numerous other media outlets including for Village Voice, SpinNew York Observer, Pitchfork, and NPR. Last year he published a book about the southern rap phenomenon, entitled Dirty South: OutKast, Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, and the Southern Rappers Who Reinvented Hip-Hop.

Village Voice Sheds Staff

The Village Voice, sister paper to the LA Weekly, suffered two big losses Friday. First was editor-in-chief Tony Ortega, who announced he was quitting to work on a book proposal about Hollywood’s favorite cult, Scientology. What? No one quits their job to work on a book proposal.  You quit once you get a book deal. More likely that Ortega was fired, as some sources have been telling the New York Observer, and he’s now attempting to save face.

Also out is music editor Maura Johnston, who made no pretense about the circumstances of her departure, telling David Carr of the New York Times, “the decision to leave was not mine.” Carr had high praise for Johnston in the paper’s Media Decoder blog:

She…embodied The Voice’s tradition of thoughtful cultural criticism, and resisted the kinds of light, easily consumable items, like Top 10 lists and photo compilations, that tend to draw the most traffic online.

Giving in to “the Darwinistic page-view coverage of anything,” she said, “is damaging to culture as a whole.”

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Highlight Music for Village Voice

It’s almost the weekend, and you’ve been invited to your roommate’s band’s show tonight. If the cheap beer isn’t a good enough incentive, maybe a byline at the Village Voice is.

As the most open section of the Voice, the music section is vibing for offbeat culture stories with a humorous yet hard-hitting tone. Music editor Maura Johnston wants to know what is happening around New York: an artist with an interesting backstory and NYC ties who’s releasing an album, a micro-scene coalescing, and so on.

For more on word count and editor contact info, check out How To Pitch: Village Voice.

Jane Pratt’s Website Off to a Rough Start

Yesterday Jane Pratt launched her new website, xojane.com, and just as we expected, the beginning was a little rough around the edges. As Maura Johnston at the Village Voice points out, there was a piece longing for more female singer-songwriters, even though there’s actually plenty of those on the radio if one actually listens. Johnston rattles off a few names of artists in her criticism of the xojane article, but her reply to a commenter sums it up well:

This bit of dreck kind of reminds me of a piece I recently read that was all, ‘WHERE ARE THE DARIAS ON TV NOW?’ that should have really been titled ‘Nobody is telling me about the snarky smart women on tv and I can’t exactly be arsed to go FIND them.’ Just lazy lazy lazy, especially when you have, I don’t know, the WHOLE INTERNET in front of you. And no, Jane, your edits don’t help. They only call attention to the amateurism.

Boom!

Johnston and Choire Sicha at The Awl came right out and nailed xojane, but The Hairpin – one of xojane’s competitors – posted a flimsy welcome to at least act like it was excited about the content on the new site. But shockingly enough, the commentors on The Hairpin weren’t too pleased with xojane either.

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The Village Voice Names New Music Editor

The Village Voice has named Maura Johnston as their new Music Editor. Rob Harvilla, the paper’s current music editor, posted that he would be leaving the Voice to take an editorial position at Rhapsody, in San Francisco.

Johnston has built quite the career for herself, having written for The Awl, Idolator and at the Village Voice.

Harvilla had this to say about leaving the paper:

This has been a dream job, and though it’s time to move on, it’s awfully hard to leave, and I’m grateful to you all for reading, writing, re-Tweeting, detracting, and however else you chose to react.