UPDATE: About 10 minutes after I posted this, Geoff Boucher tweeted about hanging up on me. He still hasn’t confirmed his departure:
@geoffboucher - Shortest phone call ever: “Hi. It’s Nikki Finke, I heard you’re leaving The Times.” “I’m not a fan.” Click.
PREVIOUS: Geoff Boucher wouldn’t confirm or deny it on the phone to me just now. But a reliable Hollywood source tells me tonight that the Los Angeles Times ‘Hero Complex’ blogger is moving on for reasons unclear. This would be a huge loss for the paper and it follows on the heels of longtime movie columnist Patrick Goldstein taking a buyout instead of working for the new editorial leadership. ’Hero Complex’ is a great blog, Boucher is an expert in all things comics, and as Indiewire’s Anne Thompson wrote recently, “The LAT‘s Geoff Boucher is the new model entertainment writer, constantly creating and repurposing and sending out new material online, via his ‘Hero Complex’ blog. Boucher came to the LAT in 1991 and, after years covering crime and local politics, he switched to the Hollywood beat covering film and music and then became the paper’s go-to geek. As someone who didn’t grow up with Marvel or DC comics, I truly envied Boucher’s extensive knowledge about his beat evident in everything he wrote. Boucher’s exit 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. Seriously, no Boucher & no Goldstein = no showbiz readers.
LA Times’ Patrick Goldstein Writes Last Column: Takes Buyout
New LA Times Calendar Team: Business Editor Becoming Entertainment News Czar
My 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.
Related: LA Times Business Editor Becoming Entertainment Czar
Related: LA Times Exits Longtime Showbiz Editor
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.” Read More »