Monday, January 12, 2009

dance music news: media notes

There have been a lot of media moves in the last week, mostly as a result of faltering ad sales and the softening economy. I'm going to take some space here to give my two cents. Dance-hungry readers can skip this.

-Metromix, the tabloid weekly newspaper from the Tribune Company, the folks who own the Los Angeles Times, hit the streets of L.A. less than a year ago with a cloud of doubt about whether it could make a go of it in a town with two alternative weeklies (LA Weekly and LA CityBeat) and a major weekly entertainment tabloid (The Guide) put out by the Times. The idea was to tap the twentysomething set with blurbs and listings about nightlife, culture and shopping. It debuted with a cover feature on DJs, by the way.

I wondered aloud if it was wise for Tribune to launch a weekly newspaper that would essentially compete with the Times' own version. But I praised some of its hires and admired its website, which ended up being second-to-none when it came to finding out what the heck was happening night-side in this town. The problem, I guess, was that ad money was to come from the print edition while readership was to be stoked online. The print edition didn't seem to have much to read; it consisted mainly of repurposed blurbs from the site. While, short, to-the-point pieces work online, Metromix, the paper, felt flimsy and without journalistic weight. I think people who pick up a newspaper want to take a journey that's akin to a three-course meal. Metromix in print was all appetizers. Unfortunately, both Metromix and The Guide went down -- The Guide first, and then Metromix last week. LA Observed reports that, as a result, the company is reconsidering a relaunch of a weekly entertainment inside the Times with my old boss, Dean Kuipers, as editor.

-LA Weekly (where I contribute now) and LA CityBeat (where I was once senior writer) are having their shrinking pains too. CityBeat is rumored to be laying off a few more people this month, and its headquarters in L.A.'s Miracle Mile is up for sale for $3.6 million. Former Weekly writer Marc Cooper has a rant about what he sees as the demise of the Weekly, with many people, including myself, weighing in on the changing landscape (I comment about the ruin of CityBeat, at least before current editor and publisher Will Swaim stepped in).

-My thoughts on CityBeat are familiar to readers here: More than anything, my problem with it is not that it has downsized in a soft economy. You gotta do what you gotta do. My issue is that core staffers, including editor-in-chief Steve Appleford, were let go under the guise of changing the editorial direction of the paper. This made it seem as if Appleford wasn't doing his job when, in fact, he was giving 150 percent at a time when the publisher didn't have his own act together. It was a weak, pass-the-buck move.

Under Cooper's post former CityBeat editor-in-chief Rebecca Schoenkopf comments, asking me "what I ever did to you that has you still bitching nine months later (at least you’re no longer going into Wikipedia every day to erase my name as CB’s editor, but probably only because I’m no longer there)." I want to respond here, as I think it would be off-topic on Cooper's blog.

I've rarely uttered Schoenkopf's name, mostly because I felt she was a victim of Southland Publishing's ill-advised moves as owner of CityBeat.

A little background: When Steve Appleford was sacked as the fall guy I walked away from the dance music column I still freelanced for the paper, and the publisher, Charles Gerencser, called me the night he fired Steve to beg me to stay. Schoenkopf was lured to the fray by Gerencser and her former OC Weekly boss Steve Lowery. Lowery was inserted as Steve's replacement, and Schoenkopf came in as arts editor (a job I had turned down a few months previously, by the way). Lowery barely lasted a week -- he said his heart wasn't in it, but I suspect he realized what a mess Gerencser had created -- and Schoenkopf took the top job, her first gig as an editor-in-chief.

The paper under her reign was a disaster. As I've noted, a publicist was allowed to write about a client she represented (a total no-no in serious journalism), a pop critic wrote about getting a blowjob, a piece that had been turned down under Steve's regime as unpublishable was published, and Schoenkopf's own unreported rants were used as filler (on the cover, no less). In one uncredited piece about travel and vacations she wrote: "Did you know that Hitler managed to give every German man, woman and child a yearly vacation at either the mountains or the sea?" I mean, this place got more black eyes from media critics than Dan Rather.

I have no animosity towards Schoenkopf. Like I said, I think she was a victim in all this. She probably would have done fine as an arts editor or columnist in an organization that had proper staffing levels and a decent copy editing and fact-checking department. To be fair, under her reign, news editor Alan Mittelsteadt did solid work, made waves and managed to hold onto and lure in some heavy hitting reporters (Jeffrey Anderson) who could kick my journalistic ass. But Mittelsteadt was left over from the Appleford days and, in fact, was cut loose under Schoenkopf. Am I sour that, after working hard to help launch the paper it turned into the kind of unreported thumb-twiddling rag we tried so hard to avoid? Absolutely. When we started CityBeat in 2003, we felt we had a mission. Some of the resources used to grow the paper came out of a federal antitrust lawsuit settlement between LA Weekly and New Times L.A. alleging that the two conspired to cut competition in the market. Our launch was specifically aimed at restoring competition, and we had a duty to inform.

But make no mistake, it's Schoenkopf who's had a hard-on for me, not vice-versa. Anyone who knows me knows I have reserved most of my animosity for the paper's former publisher, who managed to convince CityBeat's owners that the problem with the paper was "editorial direction" while he continued to drop the ball (ad sales people lost ads because they hadn't read the paper, distribution points were hit-and-miss, marketing was nonexistant, the web was a foreign term). The fact that Gerenscer finally left the building (claiming to be moving on so he could raise money for Barack Obama -- a whopping $60 that I can track) after he burned down the operation metaphorically is icing on the cake. Gerenscer left the same way he presided -- surrounded by a steaming heap of b.s. Wasn't your journalistic lie detector working, Ms. Schoenkopf, or did you leave it in O.C. when you came north?

So, no Ms. Schoenkopf, I don't think you ever did anything to me. In fact, I would have thought it wise to keep your name out of it. I certainly did. Maybe the local journalism world would forget. I sure would like to. But if you want credit for what became of CityBeat before Swaim came along, be my guest. You even egocentrically accuse me of wiping your name from CityBeat's Wikipedia entry. I did no such thing. It's all about you, huh? And you say you didn't know a writer was a publicist when you published her story. (She had previously distributed press releases for the venue she wrote about in your paper, so everyone else in L.A. media circles seemed to know). I pointed this out to your beloved boss, Charles Gerencser, so your organization knew, and you certainly should have. I would be surprised if CityBeat consultant Jay "Real Crock" Levin didn't know. She was his protege, right? So you're the only one in the chain of command who didn't know? Really.

Why you continue to carry water for Gerencser is beyond me. (Here's a guy who commented on my blog something like, "What do you think about CityBeat now," after my employer, Ciudad magazine, folded last June and I was out of a job. Of course, he was sour because I turned down his cheaper-than-thou offer to be CityBeat's arts editor, which would have also entailed editing a sister publication, New Angeles, in a two-jobs-for-the-same-salary deal. And, I suspect, I would have had to choose allegiances when Gerencser fired Appleford only a few months after he made me that offer to become entangled in his web). That Gerencser ended up exiting with CityBeat being a shadow of its former self in terms of quality and page count only makes me like Ciudad more, to tell you the truth. At least we went out with class. What do you think about Ciudad now, Mr. Gerencser?

So, if you did such a hot job, Ms. Schoenkopf, then why aren't you still at CityBeat. I mean, the current editor and publisher was your former boss at OC Weekly. I'm guessing he knows your work better than anyone. And yet it took him all of about a week to sniff around, see what you've done there, and sack you. Be brave: Put that in the Wikipedia entry.

-Finally, four years ago I marvelled how a place like CityBeat could put out a Weekly paper with about 6 and 1/2 people (now it's down to three and rumored to be shrinking) while a dance-centric email newsletter like Earplug could boast "seven editors, seven production team members, two designers and 15 contributors." Well, no more. Starting this week Earplug is done and has been folded into the parent company Flavorpill's "Daily Dose."


Anonymous said...

Rebecca Schoenkopf is an egomaniac supreme, and a lazy one at that. She couldn't edit a a Scrabble board.

Anonymous said...

that Rebecca is the reason i stopped reading City Beat, and Dennis column was the reason I started reading it.

Anonymous said...

Dead on about Gerenscer. The funny (well, one of the funny) things about his transition to Obama "fundraiser" was a story he told about being flown out via private jet to help fundraise in Denver. Not even kidding you. Of course, we've recently learned that a majority of the revenue brought in under his name for New Angeles (and by proxy Citybeat) was bunk. Sad that so many people had to suffer for his utter ineptitude.

MFed said...

I liked the new citybeat, sorry to see rebecca go :( - i worked for them when they were at the old building - charles gerencer was the best boss i ever had, he worked all the time major hours and did everything he could as far as i can tell to drive sales. i worked with him on sales directly clients liked us and him and business when i was there (05-06) was good way better than now - if anyone is weAk and inept it is the crew there now, 32 pages...take some responbibility and stop throwing your former colleagues under the bus. Denis as for his work on Obama...i worked on the effort too in Santa Barbara and he and shared much time strategizing during the summer at three Camp Obamas in LA and San Fracncisco

Anonymous said...

LA City Beat is by far the worst paper I have ever worked for! I have never worked for a newspaper that presents its product so very badly. Business owners who never had seen the paper would get turned off by it once they saw its content. Strange............mmmmmmmmmm, but they were interested before in placing advertisements but after they asked to see The LA City Beat newspaper, they hated it and of course there went your sale!! It's not a newspaper. I don't know what you would call it but I do know one thing, it copies off of the LA Weekly much too because it can't stand on its own! That is why you see the LA City Beat everywhere you see the LW weekly. Everywhere you see a vendor box for the LA Weekly, you'll see a vendor box for the LA City Beat right next to it. City Beat is like a parasite. It feeds off of the LA Weekly and if I were the LA weekly, I would sue the print off of the LA City Beat. I predict City Beat will fall within the next year, all 31 pages of it with little content and advertisements! Nothing can save it from itself!

Anonymous said...

I honestly am shocked at the anger that Dennis has for Rebecca, considering the fact that they have never met. I worked for LA Citybeat @ both 5900 Wilshire & 5209 Wilshire- and I have always felt that anyone that has worked for LA Citybeat has done their best with a very limited resources that management has provided. As for Rebecca- she tried to take a paper and make it topical to the best of her abilities. Honestly, with the resources afforded to her- she put out a quality paper. Charles did his best with advertisers to see the value of LA Citybeat. As for his personal endeavors with the Obama Campaign- it is his business and as for the allegations that the majority of his business was "bunk", I only question why do the majority still run in LA CITYBEAT? Advertisers that has been around since its inception. I think the person that has time to comment about Gerenscer should not be doing it roughly 4 months after his departure. As for Dennis- you are a great writer and I had the great opportunity to work with you. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors- more than ever those who have shared in the medium of alternative newspapers should bond together rather than personally attack one another. Good luck to you all.

Anonymous said...

At least this whole disaster got Schoenkopf out of Orange County. She was one of the most painful things about an increasingly painful L.A. Weekly. Not surprising that the "shockingly" left-wing and artsy Commie Girl of O.C. was a bit out of her depth running a whole paper in L.A. No love lost.

Anonymous said...

Sounds a lot like sour grapes with your ever-growing hard-on for citybeat. Citybeat is still around, how many places have you worked now since you left it? as for the great appleford, how many pubs was he editor at that are now kaput? what pub is this ever so hard working brilliant editor presiding over now???...or is he on the dull?? feel free to continue your ramblings on the former publisher as well.

Anonymous said...

Say whatever you want about the cast of characters past and present at City Beat and New Angeles, the constant in all this is the schizophrenic leadership of Southland Publishing. And to be more specific top execs David Comden, Bruce Bolkin and last, but certainly not least, owner Michael Flannery. Add to the above group a short list of doddering consultants who've advised them into the ground. It takes strong, smart, realistic and strategic leadership to run an organization in a dying industry and now a suffering economy. I seriously doubt these people have the fortitude or foresight to improve on what they had at the beginning of this effort - a promising and at times very successful weekly with a good number of talented people that cared beyond their pay checks.

Erik Himmelsbach said...

Having seen firsthand the decimation of the L.A. Reader (where I was managing editor) and having worked for a while as a columnist at Citybeat, I'm saddened by the whole thing. (I'd be bummed about the Weekly if it had different ownership, but those assholes get what they deserve). First of all, I thank Jesus I'm mostly out of the publishing business, but my heart goes out to my friends who've worked really hard for a lot of years to fight the good fight. The world's become a strange and scary place.

corey said...

Dennis, what's up with you? You are seriously off base here, Charles was the ONE guy at city beat that had your back when you were doing your thing..I used to work at circus and he was the one that got us to spend 600 bucks a week for over a year to support your dance column and dance listings and by the way i also happen to know from a friend (she was an intern there) who attended some of those writer meetings that those editors and writers made fun of your passions for dance music at every meeting she went to this is weak

D said...

Corey: That's a heap of bullshit. Charles never had anyone's back but his own. You're spinning the fact that this guy was finally able to sell an ad based on my content at an extreme profit based on what I was paid as doing me a favor? The opposite is true. Without my content, I know for a fact Gene (Circus) wouldn't buy an ad; in fact, when I pulled the column, Gene pulled his advertising. What's more, Gene has a serious grudge against LA Weekly for a profile they did of him, so we were his only alternative.

When I was at the paper fulltime -- and in those very meetings -- nobody laughed at my column or my ideas (some of which ended up on the cover and ended up helping the paper form a franchise annual dance issue that made it money) so I find this a little far-fetched and out-of-touch If you are referencing any of the newer folks there who were in over their heads, I would be surprised to learn they even had time to laugh or did anything besides rubber-stamping.

D said...

Corey: Just curious, which stories did they laugh at? When I wrote about Deadmau5, Trentemoller, Gui Boratto, Booka Shade, Sam Sparro, Droog, etc., etc., before anybody else in town? That's funny. Nice to know I provide both laughs and story idea material (and income) for other writers in town at the same time.

Anonymous said...

11:08 PM,
You worked for LA CityBeat? When? Back when they misspelled it City Beat? Or do you take spelling lessons from Michael Sigman, the guy who works at a newspaper whose name he can't spell. Maybe those advertisers did buy ads for your City Beat, hahhah, but the checks got lost in the mail.

Anonymous said...

I see Charles himself got wind of this, since no one else I can think of would post anything in his defense.

And about the "bunk" comment, yes, that's true. The write-offs stemming from the propping up of New Angeles are truly stunning.

The reason I think this is being brought up is because he was the most obvious thing about the paper that needed changing, and it was the last to get done. Had the publisher been replaced earlier, at least some of this could have been averted. Oh well, that's San Luis O's problem now I suppose.

Ellen said...

Rebecca is one of the most intelligent and fun women I've ever had the pleasure to work with. And just to correct an inaccuracy stated above: She was not fired. She quit.

Anonymous said...

Wow Charles, if you are going to leave a post defending yourself in 3rd person, atleast have the balls to post your name...

Anonymous said...

LA Citybeat (or however you spell it) was a great little publication until they got rid of Appleford, and both Dennis and Natalie Nichols left. Rebecca Schoenkopf made the paper a joke and was the ultimate hypocrite for firing Alan Middelstaedt—this coming from someone who still considers herself a principled martyr for quitting the New Times beast. Will Swaim knowns how to run papers, but always seems to leave them when the fire gets too hot..

Anonymous said...

Ellen said...
Rebecca is one of the most intelligent and fun women I've ever had the pleasure to work with. And just to correct an inaccuracy stated above: She was not fired. She quit.

Rebecca quit because she was about to be fired. She earned her stripes as one of the worst editors hired in LA. And she pulled the same trick at the O.C. Quit when she heard she was getting bounced out on her incompetent crybaby Commie butt.

Anonymous said...

Reminder: this demise is about ownership/management not providing and demanding too much out of limited staff and resources in an always very competitive market. You can only take advantage of talented, hard working, and underpaid people for so long. Finally, you get what you pay for - desperate publishers trying to make money any which way they can, editors with no resources to create good content and clients who see it as a viable place to market only to be disappointed because of stupid distribution, no marketing, no branding and oh, lower and lower quality content for readers to pick up the thing in the first place. Rant and rave at each other if it makes you feel good, but understand this is typical Southland Publishing operating procedure - diving to the bottom.

Anonymous said...

It's real easy to blame fall guys and fall gals here -- the real question those on the current staff need to ask themselves is what are they doing now to move things upward in a positive way?

As a fellow publisher/editor here in California I think it is easy to blame outgoing managers for stuff, calling the old editor "lazy" or blaming the out-going publisher for corporate "write-offs" - bears ZERO MERIT especially when you post anonymously.

I'm posting anonymously because I don't wanna lose my job at the really big company as for the other posters lobbing bombs at people that don't even work there anymore -- I think that this is really a cowardly and worthless act. Get back to work and save your paper!

Anonymous said...

I'm posting anonymously because I don't wanna lose my job

As are a lot of us anons, Blowtard.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Bag of Wind (Charles?) said..."calling the old editor "lazy" or blaming the out-going publisher for corporate "write-offs" - bears ZERO MERIT especially when you post anonymously.

Um, not really...It's no big leap to figure out the lazy clueless editor is Schoenkopf and the lousy bag-of-hot-wind publisher (with the shocking corporate "write-offs") is Charles. Anonymous tip-offs can have TONS OF MERIT.

Anonymous said...

this is a delicious soap opera

Carl Wolf said...

Wow this makes me sad! Someone near the bottom I agree with you. The disagreements are typical, but I seemed to get along with all of you, and most of us had some great times. I can't say that working there didn't leave a bad taste in my mouth, but to blame the previous publisher is not right. I worked right under him for many years and he cared greatly about the staff and how they felt, perhaps too much at some times. It was a tough paper too sell against the Goliath and some of the reps were left unchecked. The music industry tanked. The web has only grown and LACB did not jump on that bandwagon early enough. Publisher X would have loved to assign a greater editorial budget, but was not given one, and in fact invested in the paper himself. So the question looms, whom is responsible for the pain working there caused.

I say blame the parent company and their managers.
1)The contract, billing, receiving, and accounting department might surely be one of the least efficient worst I've ever seen.
2)To say that the hardware and software for every department is antiquated and underfunded is an understatement.
3)The president of the company is a lawyer, has never to my knowledge, outside of printing, worked in the ranks or departments of a newspaper - weekly or otherwise and therefore has no deeper knowledge of the varied personalities it takes to operate a paper and the difficulty it takes to manage them.
4)In group publishing micro-management is never a good idea and the LA market is nothing like Ventura or Pasadena for that matter.

I have loved and miss you all, so in the words of the Bill & Ted, "Be Excellent to Each Other" and good night!

D said...

Carl! Hey man, hope you're well.

I appreciate your defense of Charles, but I personally witnessed his lack of leadership. And if he had a stake in the company, that makes him all the more to blame.

Charles operated in a whirlwind of chaos - the better to cloud true problem solving an effectiveness. Whenever I confronted him with a real issue at the paper -- an issue he should have been on top of as a publisher -- his response was always to deflect, blame and explain it away rather than attacking it head on.

For example: It took years for me to convince him that asking readers to sign up for email newsletters would be an effective marketing tool for the paper. Keep in mind that I'm not a marketer, publisher or ad rep. I had to explain that we would have a valuable database of readers to sell, promote and advertise to. This was, again I remind you, reporter to publisher! This is stuff he should have been way out front on, but it was like speaking a foreign language to him. Really. It took years.

I told him I would be happy to integrate my blog LA Weekly style (see Nikki Finke's), and this would benefit us both - and that we should have blogs at the paper. Again, reporter to publisher! He couldn't figure it out.

When I and others constantly complained that distribution was hit-and-miss at important locations -- some places were influential cultural crossroads, others were actually advertisers' own place of business! -- he would explain it away. (In one case, I noted that the advertiser had a weekly supply of the competition, but not our own paper; how would you feel if you were paying to advertise in such a publication?).

When I pointed out that an ad rep missed a sale because he didn't realize we had written about a potential client (he said the potential client had complained about how we never wrote about them, but we had!), he defended the rep.

There was no sense of forward urgency, no conception that we had a brand that could be marketed with events and trade and a decent web presence - no impetus to make it happen. It was always deflection, blame games and chaos. If he thought that those of us who worked around him couldn't see the shell game that he had going, he was sorely mistaken. His shell game went public when he fired Steve and embarked on a redesign. I assume that by then the owners had figured it out, and when neither move produced anything other than black eyes in the local media, they showed him the exit.

On top of all that, he often looked at editorial as the problem when, in fact, we gave him much more than he paid for. (The comment above about Circus advertising is a good example: The paper took in $2,400 a month from Circus specifically because of my content. It paid me a sliver of that, and pocketed the rest. But the commenter -- either Charles or a sympathizer -- sees it as CityBeat having done me a favor. That really says it all).

Anonymous said...

Fun with blind items!

Which person named on this blog (not Dennis) used to buy cocaine and pot from one of his layout people, which caused said layout guy to openly brag that "[?] could never fire me?"

Which person -- who so far has NOT been named on this blog -- had a conversation with the Snowman referred to above, in which the following question was asked: "So, is [???] any good in bed?" The subject of that chat, BTW, IS mention on this blog, and frequently. (Again, not Dennis.)

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Wolfman has made his appearance I see. Now here is a guy that sold absolutely nothing and was slumped over his desk for a nap 86% of his day, maybe he was dreaming of who to blame for all the Citybeat mishaps.

D said...

Carl was one of the dedicated folks for sure.

Let me just add this example about Charles' shell-game style of operation, and I think it will become clear:

At a time when CityBeat was struggling for both ad revenue and editorial resources, Charles launched New Angeles magazine. (Don't be fooled by the title. It was an ultrathin newspaper with a glossy-esque cover). Keep in mind that his name was at the top of the masthead of CityBeat. Soon he was launching a new endeavor with mostly CityBeat resources while bad-mouthing CityBeat's editor (and "editorial direction") and pointing to the new mag's ads as a success. It might have had some break-even-type success, but only because it leached off CityBeat, including using its art director and an ex-staffer who was a parttime New Angeles editor-in-chief.

Now, anybody who's seen New Angeles knows it wasn't a homerun. It was another ultra-cheap product from an ultra-cheap company designed simply as arm candy for advertising. Fine. But as it barely floated, Charles, in his typically chaotic style, created a whirlwind of hype around its perceived success (again, it had 1/2 a person as staff and got all its other resources from CityBeat, so it wouldn't take much) while putting down his company's own flagship paper, thus trying to make himself out to be a mogul-like hero to the owners.

Now, as you know, New Angeles is rumored to be shrinking down to a quarterly publication - this only a few months after Charles has left the building. So either his blowhard boasting about its success was another lie, or it has crashed in a matter of weeks. In any case, I would be surprised to see it survive.

And this brings up a final but most-important point about the past publishing leadership at Southland. While any publisher and editor knows that must-read journalism brings eyeballs and advertising, the company mostly could care less about what words accompany its ads. For Charles, there was no difference between CityBeat under Rebecca and CityBeat under Steve. To him, it was all a blur of bla-bla-bla to put around his ads. Now, once again, that would be find if 1) he could actually sell ads and 2) he didn't constantly feed emails to local media watchers boasting that CityBeat was on top of stories and was successfully chasing good journalism under Rebecca.

The company has every right to put out cheap products that frame its ad business. It's called capitalism. Go for it. But don't turn around it call it good journalism or tout your products as having quality and integrity.

Kenny said...

I question your thoughts on who is dedicated to their job, Dennis. I think you only came into the office about once a week.

Anonymous said...

I happen to think Rebecca did a good job with the teeny-tiny staff she was given, though firing Steve was a stupid move. The paper's become a joke.

The problem with Southland is that owner Mike Flannery also owns Valley Printers, which prints all Southland pubs. It doesn't matter to him what's on the pages--or who's responsible for it--as long as he's got content to feed his printing press.

Jacko said...

Poster @ 12:03, man you're talking some frighten unprofessional scenarios. Why didn't this loser just go to work and save his paper?

Anonymous said...

Are you trying to say that he was unethical and (or) incompetent? Seems like "chaotic managment" and "shell game" are fancy terms for deceitful cowardly liar? Here's a question, would all the resources in the world have made him a better publisher?

D.J. in reverse said...

I was gonna stay out of this one but Dennis should know about how Steve A was really moved out from citybeat. In late 2006, right after they moved to that new swanky office I called on then publisher Charles Gerenser to bend his ear over lunch, my treat. He knew me from my work at another weekly in town.

We met up the street on La Brea, the first thing he said to me when he shook my hand was, "I hope this isn't about the editor job...that's already taken." During our 2 hour lunch all he could do was heap praise on Steve calling him the hardest working guy he knew...the truth is I did want Steve's job but he would have none of it.

Flash forward to January 2008 when then Editorial Director of citybeat Jay Levin contacted me to offer me Steve's job. I asked, what about the publisher...he said, "I'm in charge of all of this" - truth is Steve Appleford's days were numbered right or wrong when they hired Jay....I seriously doubt Charles had anything to do with the mindset behind Steve's exit other than be made to pull the trigger...

this is the truth and nothin' but the truth....for the record

D said...

Not sure who's attacking Carl or why, but I'm not going to allow comments that aren't remotely true.

As for me coming into the office once a week - that's simply ridiculous. First, I came in every day. Second, you don't have to come in to be a good journalist. In fact, the best reporters are out on the street, interviewing people and getting the story. My record of work and production is on the CityBeat website and on the web. I doubt if anyone has more bylines there than me - and I only worked there for two years. Look it up.

D said...

And let me address the allegations of drug dealing. I saw no such thing while I was there. And we had one key staff member who was hardcore clean and sober, so this seems far fetched - at least during my time.

D said...

Oh, and regarding whether all the resources in the world would have made for a better publisher. Sure.

But it wouldn't have taken more money to be more on top of trade promotion opportunities, blogging, distribution, and ad reps who didn't read the damn paper. It wouldn't have taken more money to focus on the core property of CityBeat rather than launching a new publication to divert attention when your core publication needed you most.

D said...

While that story about Jay "Real Crock" Levin doesn't surprise me, the idea that Charles defended Steve does. He could rarely miss a chance to talk bad about Steve to me.

D said...

If anyone out there knows - what was Charles' record at San Diego CityBeat? All I remember is there was a huge editorial downsizing (in boom times, no less) and the paper seemed to be much thinner in page count after his reign. But correct me if I'm wrong.

Carl Wolf said...

Hey Dennis thanks man, I'm well, and I hope the same can be said for you, and the wife and I would love to hang and stomp out a groove with you any time a heavy hitter rolls through!

Now back on defense!

I hope that you honestly don't believe it was his decision to launch the 2nd pub, staff it with near slave labor, all to produce a new and glamorized, yet mediocre mag that he had to then sell? Come on man! Bro you were downstairs and just a freelancer long before its 1st issue, long before it was even a twinkle in the "Total Recall-esc" three eyed mutant of a certain cheap & arrogant, ignorant & condescending, sinfully greedy printer and his "Cuato" Babylon slave and a broken Condom! In an unfortunately mistaken thought and unlike PW's grand arroyo fashion, they drooled over the pipe-dreamed $$$ it would bring in and forced their hand, chewing over and over the cud that was our beloved staff.

The over trusting to a fault which must fall on Fearless Leader was his allowance of the JC, not to be confused with my Savior, free reign to knowingly dig the hole only a bastardized and unloved paper can fill. It was that oversight along with the shovel of perjured advertising that started its burial, to be back filled with the dirt of discontent, unrecognized hopes and unfulfilled dreams!

All of you, my brothers & sisters, what's done is done, literally and especially for all of us who are no longer there. Friends, "Can't We All Just Get Along?" Let's make peace on the eve of this historic inauguration and let's honor the words of a newly televised & rehabbed Rodney King!

"Come on people now, smile on each other, everybody get together and try to love one another right now!"

Hugging it Out,


Anonymous said...

Rebecca did a good job? In what language? She fired Alan and bought her news from Wonkette.

Shortly after that stunning management decision by Rebecca, Alan put his LA Sniper work on Celeste Freemon's blog Witness LA, where, in a biting but hilarious post, he busted the DN for running a puff piece on the Water King. Alan became the most celebrated journo in the city that week. Even on city blogs where they bag on everybody, Alan was called a hero.

Rebecca sure has a nose for news.

Carl Wolf said...

Thanks Dennis, I appreciate you getting my back. I have a bit too much class to even honor crass anon comments with a response, but only just a bit. It seems as if someone has corroborated with me on the SteveA issue. Interesting, no.

Also, did you get the last piece I posted? I know I shat a word salad on that one, and that its not posted right know might be keeping me from being sued on Monday, so thanks for that too, but I hope it gave you a chuckle, at least. I know I naughty giggled a couple of times.

So, are you still spinning the good stuff anywhere around town?


Anonymous said...

Jacko: because the big, bad New Times people were mean to him and didn't wuv him much, so he went home for a few months and cried and cried. And then he got an idea: "I'll show you, New Times! I'll start my own paper, and it will be the most successfullest newspaper in all the land! And I'll take my favoritiest employees with me! So there, you poo-poo faces!"

Anon @ 6:32 p.m.: Yes and yep. That's why Southland spins off these thin-ass magazines like New Angeles and others in their markets, strictly to keep the pressing plants greased.

Kelly said...

Hi Dennis,

I've worked at SD CityBeat since the beginning. You're right—-there was a "downsizing" that happened, and during an economic boom. I won't get into what happened; I'd prefer to look forward. As frustrated as I get with this company, I want to see the paper to which I've given so much time succeed.

I've whined and complained over the years about the lack of editorial resources, but I'm realizing that it really comes down to the people who are selling the paper. You nailed it: if the ad reps aren't reading the paper, they'll not only miss out on sales, but they'll be utterly unable to evangelize the product to potential advertisers. I'd guess that maybe a quarter of the 50+ reps SDCB's employed over the last six years actually cracked open the book.

Since my office used to be located near the ad reps' offices, I heard stories about the damage poor hires did to the paper. Unpaid bills, "special" deals that went unreported to our publisher, key prospects who were ignored. My hairdresser was contacted frequently by reps, and he'd always let me know how they did. He once shared with me a 1,000-word e-mail a rep sent to him. It was embarrassing. My husband works in sales, so I know how important it is to contact a client in person. Sending a too-long e-mail with poor grammar and an overly informal tone ain't gonna land new business.

Then there are the people who never should have been hired in the first place, like the rep who constantly smelled like liquor, or another who liked to show off his hairy chest. Or the guy who was surprised to learn on his first day of work that he'd need a car. Or, the guy who sat in a corner for a month doing nothing but sending e-mails (I had a view of his desk from my office). The amount of money that's wasted on reps who never sell a single ad is mind-blowing.

Southland needs to hire a top-notch sales manager who regularly travels to all five papers to meet with reps and train them. The sales manager should be in regular contact with the publisher, setting goals for reps but also providing guidance and moral support (news flash: team spirit is key). Someone needs to be thinking up new sources of revenue and new marketing campaigns that are appropriate for each paper's market (please—-no more "pet program").

I'm not sure what the future holds for LACB. I know we miss their top-notch state-level coverage. I'm just hoping SDCB pulls through this. We have easy competition, the San Diego Reader, but we've yet to crack that nut.

—Kelly Davis
Associate Editor
San Diego CityBeat

Anonymous said...

southland publishing continues to ignore an old adage --- you get what you pay for. the only good that emerges from these posts is the lesson to all in this industry. if you can help it, don't work at companies like southland publishing. if you must, then keep looking for another job and understand that if you stay, job security is tenuous, low pay is guaranteed and your publishers and editors are not in control. we could all do better and big mistakes have definitely been been made, but your perceived "bosses" at the home papers can only do so much and are under the same need as you. these "chiefs" need to make money and survive. southland publishing/valley business printers are only serious business people to the extent it helps their printing business.

Anonymous said...

Yes! save your papers!!! from publishers like the one CityBeat had -- Stay clear of publishers without an ethical bone in their bodies and who are only looking out for #1 through lie upon lie -- Publishers who are now ad execs at 40circ smalltown papers -- that cant get their name spelled right on their own website--

heyzeus said...

I have no idea about the inner workings of Citybeat. I do know that in the course of investigating a criminal and civil matter regarding some comedian named tig notaro I came upon an article written by Tom Sharpe about said "comedian.". Notaro is a pathological liar so when she said she lives with Tom Sharpe in sworn statements and court documents, I had to investigate if that was true. So there is a puff piece by sharpe about about Notaro in City beat. So, I say "nice article why don't you say she's your roommate, mr sharpe."
You'd think that writing about ones roomate without any disclosure would be a no no. No? Sharpe responds with some inane and lenghty letter denying that he ever set foot in the house of Notaro and how his editor knows he's dear friends with all of the comedians of the world and is ok with him not disclosing his prior relationships. Then, when I question that it all gets deleted. Then when I put the comments back up(cause I saved them all to disk) he starts saying how they were deleted because notaro has a stalker and that's why. Well, the beauty is that Notaro never had a stalker but made the whole thing up for her own sick reasons and lying about living with Sharpe is just one of over 100 lies in her court documents. At this point in time if there is any justice Notaro will be tried for perjury as what she tried to do is so ugly that it would lead any jury to seek to punish her.

The idea that this is passing for journalism and that this Sharpe doofus is libeling me in a public forum pisses me off so I write a nice letter to the editor and she just ignores me. then I find out that Amy Alkon, that clown, is the boss and friend of Notaro's best friend and Alkon too is now repeating the slalker slander and libel on her sad little sit. Their noses(timeworn pinnocio reference) and my lawsuit grows daily.

I only read one issue under Dumbkoeph and it was grating and precious- some issue about yom kippur. It really sucked, frankly and objectively. Eventually, after a few attempts rebecca (whatever the hell her last name is) was forced to tell someone I know that Mr. Sharpe lives in Iowa.

9 day old fish smells sweeter that what was going on under her watch.

If anyone out there is interested in a great story about the comedy world and how a gutter snipe(Notaro) in fear of competition created a mammoth and unrelenting smear campaing against an unsuspecting dupe(me) and got the police, the courts, and then Citybeat, The sound of young america, and various other individuals and entities to play along -- drop me an email. I wonder what became of Sharpe and if he was ever called to task for not only not disclosing but then calling a consummate non stalker a stalker, and then when that didn't satisty deleted everything from the site. I've kept all the documentationand it really reads as very ridiculous. Unfortunately, the repurcussions have been very serious.

Anonymous said...

I have worked for Michael Flannery and Bruce Bolkin and can tell you hands down, they are the WORST people to work for. They care for nothing besides themselves. I've had the pleasure to work for others since departing from them that actually care about people. Michael Flannery is a very wealthy man who will stomp on anyone who gets in his way...and Bruce Bolkin is a high paid pawn who is just following orders...I saw through him the moment I met him and made plans to get far away from his kingdom of rule...beware if you still follow his rules, they will bite you in the end!