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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Lacey’

Jonathan Gold-Watch Gets Dramatic**

The single most juicy question on the minds of media watchers in LA right now is undoubtedly whether Jonathan Gold is really heading to the LA Times. Over the weekend LA Observed reported that even though Gold had a signed deal with the LA Times, Village Voice Media owner Mike Lacey was pulling out all the stops to keep Gold at the LA Weekly--and a bidding war with the Times for Gold’s services was in full swing. This morning, however, a post on the food blog of the LA Weekly‘s sister paper The Village Voice seemed to confirm that Gold was indeed leaving for the LA Times.

The post’s title was unambiguous. “Jonathan Gold Leaving L.A. Weekly for L.A. Times,” screamed the headline. The author of the post then wished Gold “the greatest success in his new job.”

Well, that must be that then, no? The Village Voice is the biggest property in VVM’s chain. Lacey must have given them the scoop, figuring if he was going to lose Gold, he might as well hand his paper a big story.

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New LA Weekly Editor is Owner’s Ex-Girlfriend

Wow. Neon Tommy’s Benjamin Gottlieb dug up a rather sensational scoop in a well-reported story on incoming LA Weekly editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske. It turns out that back when Fenske was a columnist for the Phoenix New Times a few years ago, she dated Mike Lacey–owner of the Weekly‘s parent company Village Voice Media.

This guy:

“We haven’t been involved for years,” Fenske told Neon Tommy. “I would hope that my work would stand for itself.”

Fair enough. Gross though. Very gross.

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LA Weekly Announces New Editor-in-Chief

Just hours after news broke that LA Weekly editor Drex Heikes was on his way out, a replacement has been named: Sarah Fenske, managing editor of the Riverfront Times in St. Louis. Both papers are owned by Village Voice Media.

Fenske, who has never worked in Los Angeles, may seem a strange choice to lead a publication that’s supposed to be on the cutting edge of LA culture. But she has a 10-year history with New Times Media, who acquired both the LA Weekly and the Village Voice Media name in 2005. The New Times has a history of promoting from within, even if that means sending employees to new cities they aren’t familiar with.

According to the LA Times, they were informed of the new hire by VVM executive editor Mike Lacey before LA Weekly‘s own staff. The company memo, which was sent to employees at 3:30, is after the jump.

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Ashton Kutcher vs. the Village Voice

Sure, the Village Voice may have just avoided a strike — but is it any match for celebrities on Twitter? CNN is reporting that the Voice is engaging in some serious Twitter warfare with Ashton Kutcher, likely to the delight of his more than seven million followers. It began with the Voice‘s derogatory article accusing Kutcher for getting facts about sex trafficking wrong with his (admittedly oddly conceived, but no doubt well-intentioned) “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign.

As we’ve covered in the past, there is an existing controversy over the fact that Village Voice Media generates a significant revenue from escort ads on its classified site Backpage. So if they call out anyone over sex trade concerns, in fairness they should be prepared for that all to come up. Which it did.

Kutcher fired off a number of tweets, including: “Hey @villagevoice speaking of data, maybe you can help me… How much $ did your ‘escorts’ in you classifieds on backpage make last year?” and “REAL MEN DON’T BUY GIRLS and REAL NEWS PUBLICATIONS DON’T SELL THEM.”

The Voice responded, “Wow, @aplusk having a Twitter meltdown! Hey Ashton, which part this story is inaccurate?… we’ll bite. Tell us the hard facts you have collected. We’ll fact-check for you.” Later, when it seemed like Kutcher wasn’t responding, the publication added: “Where’s your fight now, @aplusk? Did you sleep in, or are you just tuckered out from last night’s Twitter tirade?”

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Village Voice Media Editor Sends Enraged Email to New York Observer over Escort Ads Story

New York Observer media reporter Kat Stoeffel reported that Village Voice Media was drawing a huge amount of revenue — by some estimations $2.1 million — from escort ads on its classifieds site, even when organizations like Craigslist had shut down their erotic services sections due to lawsuits regarding child prostitution and trafficking.

Let’s just say this story went over somewhat badly with Village Voice Media. Terribly, in fact. Executive editor Mike Lacey wrote a long, invective-filled response to the Observer today, sounding near apoplectic with rage. Every other sentence contained an insult for Stoeffel. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but here are some highlights:

Stoeffel is the overly powdered aunt that haunts family holidays. At dinner, she’s left her teeth in a glass of water on the bedside table. She’d like to chew your goose. But she’s left to gum your bird while forgetting the grandkid’s names.

Admittedly, we’re not entirely sure what he’s getting at there. But let’s continue:

Because she is neither competent nor engaging she should not be allowed to discuss religion or politics, let alone sex and journalism.

And that’s just how it begins!

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Village Voice Media Honcho Mike Lacey Still Trying to Figure Out This Whole Internet Thing*

It’s not often Village Voice Media capo dei capi Mike Lacey graces the pages, web or otherwise, of his media properties. But this communique from the bossman–his first in months–went out yesterday on the LA Weekly‘s Informer blog, as well as every other website in the VVM chain.

Is it just us, or does this post demonstrate Lacey has absolutely no clue how blogging, Twitter or the entire Internet seem to work. First off, what’s up with the hashtag in the headline? You use that for Twitter. It doesn’t work when you blog.

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LA Weekly Parent Company Village Voice Media On the Hook for $21 Million

Must not have been a very happy Thanksgiving for LA Weekly and Village Voice Media honcho Mike Lacey. For those who didn’t hear the news, the great California newspaper battle is officially over. The California Supreme Court rejected VVM-owned SF Weekly’s appeal in its predatory pricing case with rival San Francisco Bay Guardian. VVM now has to fork over $21 million to the Bay Guardian–money it doesn’t have.

The SF Appeal has a nice link roundup of all the developments you need to catch up.

So what happens now? Will the SF Weekly shut down?

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Neon Tommy Profiles Drex Heikes

Psst. Psst. Word is over at college newspaper Neon Tommy, LA Weekly is looking to flesh out its staff. Hire reporters. That’s right. Hire. Reporters. That’s means journalists to you technically inclined.

Mike Lacey, the self-proclaimed “asshole in charge,” said he has authorized Heikes to double the size of its editorial staff in the next six months.

In an interview at the Weekly’s offices in Culver City, Heikes said he did not sign on to preside over an organization in decline. At the top of his agenda: reclaiming the Weekly’s legacy of pioneering investigative journalism and its street-level awareness of L.A.’s music and art scenes. He’s already overseeing heavy investment in the Web as a primary delivery vehicle for the Weekly’s goods.

The new editor echoed past voices from the Weekly in describing his editorial approach: “I see it from the ground up, not top down. I don’t want us covering [Los Angeles Mayor Antonio] Villaraigosa like a rock star like the Times did for a few years until they got tired of him. What’s going on in the streets? Let’s work up from that.”

The whole piece by Kevin Douglas Grant can be found here.

Pictured Dex Heikes and FBLA editor Tina Dupuy.

Previously on FBLA: LA Weekly Throws Party For Incoming Editor

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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LA Weekly’s Laurie Ochoa ‘s Letter to LA Observed


LA Weekly EIC Laurie Ochoa’s email to Kevin Roderick:


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.

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.