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Joseph Kapsch Disputes TheWrap’s Report of His Impending Exit From The Hollywood Reporter*

After only two months at The Hollywood Reporter, deputy web editor Patrick Day has called it quits and is heading back to the LA Times as a writer/senior producer. TheWrap’s Lucas Shaw, who broke the story, writes that not only is Day leaving, but his editor Joseph Kapsch is unhappy at THR under EIC Janice Min, and is planning his own exit from the mag–which Shaw basically calls a sinking ship.

Kapsch confirmed to FishbowlLA that Day is indeed leaving. As is Lindsay Powers, who is a New York freelancer, not a deputy web editor as TheWrap reported. But he took issue with some of Shaw’s characterizations of life at THR under EIC Janice Min and the notion that he is unhappy. In fact, Kapsch had a number of other issues with TheWrap’s story. So we’re running his response in full.

As a hotly-watched media operation, The Hollywood Reporter is used to being covered. Everyone from The New York Times to Elle to Huffington Post have taken notice of our amazing transformation, for which we are grateful. We are additionally grateful for the large, enthusiastic and passionate audience we have amassed in a short period of time.

Today a small blog ran a ridiculous item about me and my online staff, for which I was not even called. Usually, we ignore such nonsense knowing that this certain breed of Hollywood blogger writes based on opinion, agenda and fantasy, not fact. But when it calls into question my character, or that of people who work here, an institution of dedicated and respected journalists, I feel I must say something. We are compelled to respond when it comes to personal and inaccurate statements about staff.

This blog falsely contends I am not thrilled with my job and possibly planning to exit as Editor, THR.com at The Hollywood Reporter. This blog, hardly a beacon of journalistic excellence, never attempted to reach out to me for comment. I’m assuming this is because whatever truth I might have told this person would have disrupted the bizarre fantasy narrative in her mind. The blog editor-in-chief’s obsessiveness and indeed rejection as one time editor of this operation is well known. This incident, among many, illustrates the difference between legitimate news organizations and places such as this, which produce stories on hearsay, fantasy, jealousy and god knows what else. Why seek comment if it would disagree with the thesis they hope to be true, no matter how false it is?

Since this blog’s “reporter,” although I use that term loosely, failed to reach out to me on either telephone or email before running a story on me, I am obligated to set the record straight on the multiple false claims throughout the article.

1. I’m NOT leaving my job as Editor, THR.com at The Hollywood Reporter now nor any time soon. I certainly feel no unusual pressure working under my boss Janice Min. It’s quite the opposite. She’s a superior boss, gifted editor and creative genius who I’ve learned so much from and continue to become an even stronger editor under the short five months by working for her. And yes if it sounds gushy it’s because it is. I respect and admire Janice as both my boss and a person. She’s amazing.

2. One of the people cited as departing in this blogger’s “mass exodus” is a part-time freelancer. The other one is returning to writing after
determining the demands – and yes there are demands – of editing for a successful news operation did not fit into his current lifestyle (he has a newborn at home). A third person mentioned had no relationship to the editorial operations at The Hollywood Reporter.

3. The Hollywood Reporter was categorized as one of our parent company Prometheus’ “struggling publications.” I’m sure that is probably a term this small blog is intimately familiar with, but it couldn’t be a more inaccurate way to describe THR. When THR began its overhaul last year, THR.com was under 400K unique visitors a month. I joined in May 2011 and the site had just achieved it’s hugest month in history with 4.6 million UV. Now as of October 2011, the site today is poised to hit close 5 million UV according to ComScore. It hardly describes “struggling” when a site is in the 1% of fast-growing publications on the entire internet. Indeed, THR.com is now the largest (by far) of any website covering the Hollywood industry today.

Thank you for allowing me to clarify the facts.

And for allowing you to take some shots at Sharon Waxman. No worries. We like traffic too.

*Sharon Waxman responds:

Kapsch confirmed our story that his two deputy editors were leaving.

He also ignored what he knew to be true, which was that we called him but neglected to leave a message. Disingenuous by any stretch. (I sent him an immediate note of apology, which he responded to, and then chose to ignore in his tirade.)

Also, Lindsay Powers seems to believe she is a deputy editor and signed her statement to us with that title.

Waxman also notes that Powers is listed on the THR masthead as a deputy editor. Which is true.

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