Even though Patrick Goldstein’s dissection of showbiz trade publications in the upcoming Los Angeles Magazine only seems longer (and far less sexy) than Fifty Shades Of Grey, I worried when I read through almost all eight pages that he broke no new ground beyond a self-important declaration he has been offered jobs by some of his subjects. And then suddenly, he made a pronouncement as bold and daring as back to the ’70s, when music critic Jon Landau wrote that he had seen the future of rock and roll, and its name is Bruce Springsteen. Just as boldly, Goldstein reveals that he has seen the future of entertainment journalism and it is … The Wrap‘s Jeff Sneider? My first instinct was to instantly understand why the LA Times had put Goldstein out to pasture with early retirement. After all, in his mind, journalism’s answer to Bruce Springsteen is the same guy who attempted to commit Twitter Suicide by declaring that because he’d lost a break on a Chris Nolan deal story, he’d drive into a tree and blame Hollywood for his demise. It was almost career suicide — Variety sacked him — but The Wrap hired him. But since Goldstein wrote sooooo many words in his LA Mag article, he must know what he’s talking about, right? So I began to ponder the ramifications for the craft of trade journalism if Goldstein’s Nostradamus-like prediction is right. Here’s what I came up with:
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.
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.”