The veteran newspaper editor and reporter is following Jim Bates and the late Mark Saylor from the Los Angeles Times to the Century City offices of Sitrick And Company. “Like many of my new partners who came from journalism, I didn’t think I would ever join a PR firm, but Sitrick is not exactly a traditional or ordinary public relations firm,” explained Sallie Hofmeister in her announcement. She was formerly Assistant Managing Editor directing all arts and entertainment coverage both digitally and in print until LAT Editor Davan Maharaj exited her a year ago almost to the day. “I speak for everyone at the firm when I say we are very thrilled to have Sallie join our team,” Mike Sitrick said in the announcement. “It takes a certain combination of judgment and skill to succeed in this business and I am confident Sallie has both.” If you’re going to do PR, Sitrick’s self-processed strategic and crisis flackery though certainly controversial is more interesting than most. And while I’ve written harshly about Sallie in the past, we’ve become better acquainted over recent months, and I wish her well in her new gig. (Hey, she gave me this announcement first…)
Assistant Managing Editor for Arts & Entertainment Sallie Hofmeister has been the person most responsible for the Los Angeles Times‘ lazy and irrelevant coverage of Hollywood. The good news for the newspaper is that she’s now been forced out by the recently installed new editor Davan Maharaj who has a history of hating on her. But the bad news for the newspaper is that it’s lost too much momentum under her tenure to ever get it back. Hofmeister guided arts and entertainment coverage for the last three years. According to today’s bullshit announcement, “She says that, after 25 years in newspaper journalism, she wants a summer off before embarking on a new career challenge.” The truth is she was given a grace period to look for a job. Her last day will be June 22. Maharaj in a note to staff says, “an announcement of her successor will be forthcoming”.
Hofmeister joined the LAT in 1995 from The New York Times to cover the business of television. In 2006, she became an editor overseeing entertainment and technology coverage. She was named business editor in 2008 and, less than a year later, joined the masthead as an assistant managing editor responsible for arts and entertainment. Hofmeister succeeded in dumbing down the newspaper with blogs like the Ministry of Gossip and another devoted to American Idol. And now the paper’s Envelope is a Red Carpet joke. Meanwhile, the LAT‘s film advertising is down 25% below even the most modest of projections, and now many movies and now suddenly …
LAObserved.com just posted a memo from Sallie Hofmeister, the LA Times‘ incredibly mediocre Assistant Managing Editor for Arts & Entertainment. More interested in celebrity coverage than substantive beat reporting, Hofmeister exhorts her showbiz blog staff to try to have “an original thought” from time to time which ”readers can use to sound smart in a meeting or cocktail party”. Isn’t it swell to be so trivialized, Hollywood? By the way, several current LA Times entertainment beat staffers have approached Deadline about jobs recently. They don’t want to work anymore for Silly Sallie.
…The newspaper’s announcement today that Sallie Hofmeister is the new Business Editor. She’d overseen entertainment and technology stories, including the Los Angeles Times‘ embarrassingly weak coverage of the writers strike which new editor Russ Stanton effusively praises in this memo about her appointment. So let me clarify: reporting late on that strike’s many news developments, or ignoring altogether those that showed the Hollywood moguls in an unflattering light, is how to get ahead there.
As I reported during the strike, to the LA Times, the Michelin restaurant ratings were more important news than WGA strikers. There was, for example, no Page One news article or photo of the 4,000-person WGA strike rally, the biggest in the guild’s history. The WGA march on Fox was reduced to a 655-word story on page 2 in the Business section. And the paper used an unofficial estimate of 3,500, not the WGA’s estimate of 4,000 or the LAPD’s estimate of 5,000. I’ve read articles three times as long about French wine-making. Instead of a photo of the strike on Page One, there was a generic shot of Benazir Bhutto, an article about Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik, and a really urgent piece about Michelin ratings and LA chefs. And for the life of me, even seven paragraphs in, I still can’t figure out what the Column One story about “A Pioneer Refuses to Fade Away” was about.
I kept carping about the LA Times’ incredibly slanted coverage of this producers v writers dispute. But jeez – a business …