Patrick GoldsteinMy sources say longtime Los Angeles Times movie columnist Patrick Goldstein decided to take a buyout rather than work for the new leadership at the newspaper announced earlier this year. “He felt there was no more future for him there. It was obvious since all the new people think about is driving web traffic. They’re trying to put everyone to work doing that,” my source says. Wednesday’s edition of the LAT is Goldstein’s last column for that media outlet. No public announcement was made, and my source says about the lack of any explanation, “part of his going away deal is that he can’t disparage the new leadership”.

Goldstein’s thoughtful and knowledgeable and deeply sourced column appeared in the newspaper regularly and was one of the few remaining reasons left to read Calendar these days. But over the years he resisted many attempts to turn him into a daily Internet reporter. His resignation follows Editor Davan Maharaj’s arrival and then a new entertainment editorial team announced June 20th. That was like moving deck chairs on the Titanic given that the newspaper has become lazy and irrelevant and its showbiz ads have fallen 25% every year as studio and theater chains abandon the publication.

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Goldstein began writing “The Big Picture” back in 2000 but started on the newspaper first as a music freelancer and then Calendar staffer and eventually prestigious movie columnist. In 2007 he was the subject of an editorial flap when the paper’s then Calendar top dog killed one of his columns. In what now seems prescient, Goldstein told me at the time, “I love working at a newspaper, especially this one, but if we don’t start embracing change in a big way, there won’t be great jobs like the one I have much longer.”

As readers of Deadline Hollywood know (and can find in the archives), I’ve certainly had my differences of opinion and fact with Patrick, including several very public spats, but I greatly respect and admire him – even when he’s wrong. Here is simply what Goldstein wrote:

Since that first Charlie’s Angels column, I’ve written hundreds of columns. This is my last. I’ve blown plenty of calls. I’ve gotten too caught up in the emotion or hurly-burly of the moment, like when I wrote after 9/11 that Hollywood would forever embrace a new seriousness of purpose. (Hah!) But I hope I’ve gotten a few things right and even occasionally made a difference.

Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke - tip her here.

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