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Posts Tagged ‘Will Swaim’

On Sarah Tressler: Reporter, Professor, Stripper and Former LA CityBeat Intern

OK. The story has gotten too big. I need to take a moment to say a word about Sarah Tressler.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Tressler, here’s a primer: Up until this week she was the “society” columnist for the Houston Chronicle… while secretly moonlighting as a stripper. Her double life was exposed this week by the Houston Press and made national news. She was subsequently fired from her Chronicle gig and went on Good Morning America to talk about the whole ordeal.

But back in 2009, before all the current craziness, Sarah was an intern at the LA CityBeat when I was the senior editor there. Sarah was smart, she was determined, and to say she was eccentric would be putting it mildly. She was an odd duck. I remember her nearly constant smirking and dismissive eye-rolling during our editorial meetings, particularly (for some reason) when editor-in-chief Will Swaim would speak. Sometimes she’d call us (including Swaim) out for how terrible our ideas were–without offering the slightest hint of constructive criticism. We’d all be tossing ideas around and every-so-often we’d hear a loud grunt or groan from Sarah’s corner of the table.

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Will Swaim is Back in the Editing Game

Former OC Weekly, District Weekly and LA CityBeat editor and publisher Will Swaim just landed himself a media gig. He’s the new managing editor of the Franklin Center‘s nationwide news organization.

Swaim fills us in via email.

[Franklin Institute runs] a network of investigative reporters working on government waste, fraud and abuse–pretty much what I’ve done since my days at OC Weekly, the District Weekly and (too, too briefly) LA City Beat, where we assembled remarkable teams of reporters dedicated to ferreting out corruption.

I’m also responsible for hiring investigative reporters. It’s good to be part of a growing organization.

Pretty sure he just said “hiring.” Take note investigative journos of the Southland.

Will Swaim Launches New Web Venture

OC Weekly‘s founding editor and former publisher Will Swaim is back in the media mix, launching a new website called Republic of Costa Mesa–which tackles the issue of what the website calls the “simply  unsustainable” pension and healthcare  benefits of that city’s public employees. As someone who’s worked with Swaim before, and is accustomed to his politics falling on the more liberal side of things, we were surprised to see his latest venture take such a strong anti-union position–even if that position is rooted less in ideological terms than it is in a realpolitik cost-benefit analysis.

“I’m attracted to stories that challenge my own biases,” Swaim tells us, “and where I think the mainstream media could use a nudge.

“I noticed that I have this almost irresistible impulse to support unions; despite their problems, they’ve been absolutely necessary engines of prosperity for millions of Americans. But it’s pretty easy to do the math on the public employee unions’ deals with state and local government and determine that they’re not sustainable. Even if we like the idea of budgeting $1.5-$3million per employee, the math doesn’t work. Cities will simply go broke fast trying to pound the square peg of math into the round hole of actuarial reality.
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BREAKING: LA CityBeat Has Folded

citybeat.jpgLos Angeles CityBeat has ceased publishing. Yesterday’s issue will be the paper’s last. The staff was informed this morning in a meeting with Bruce Bolkin, president of Southland Publishing.

Sources inside the paper expressed surprise at the decision. Under CityBeat publisher Will Swaim‘s direction the paper had recently gone from operating at a loss to breaking even.

The paper has seen a revolving door of staff members since former publisher Charles Gerencser inexplicably fired founding editor Steve Appleford last year.

Previously on FBLA: Welcome to LA, President Obama

The Running of the Journos

bullrun.jpgMore LAT rainmakers leaving our sun-kissed land.

Will Swaim plays the pied piper and leads former OC Weekly reporters to Long Beach to join the new paper he’s starting, the District.

A loyal newspaper reader is suing to undo MediaNews’ $738.8 million purchase of the Merc and the Contra Costa Times, saying the deal violates anti-trust laws. But Bay Area newspaper owners say that a reader “lacks the standing” to challenge an acquisition. Hell, it takes more than one reader to change a paper’s mind about dropping Marmaduke.

Sundown on Sunset

story.cartoon.adultswim.jpg It’s been a fabulous week of drama and intrigue and — this being LA — the hopes of well-televised racial violence at the conclusion of a controversial hate-crime case (alas, media blood lust goes unsated).

Here’s a little Friday evening sample platter of news. It comes free during happy hour, so indulge!

Jumping Ship: Ever since the Village Voice Media bought the OC Weekly last year, the staff has gotten mighty unhappy. And now everyone is fleeing — founding editor Will Swaim resigned this week. As did Chris Ziegler and Commie Girl (aka Rebecca Schoenkopf). Read all about it in her final column. As she says, it could have been worse: Singleton coulda bought them. But apparently not-the-worst wasn’t good enough.

Sahara For All The Trouble: Billionaire Philip Anschutz is suing author Clive Cussler, saying the author tricked him into paying $10 million for film rights to the novel Sahara — a development that’s far more interesting than anything Cussler has ever written.

LAT Editors Learn About That Series of Tubes We Like To Play With: Courtesy of LA Observed, LAT Innovation Editor Russ Stanton sends out a memo inviting Times editors to a class “designed to better familiarize you with, what generates the most traffic and the least, what the site can and can’t do, and where it is headed.” We love the implicit admission in this that LAT eds don’t even know what’s on the site.