‘LA Times’ Reshuffles Hollywood Coverage

By: Scott Collins

(The Hollywood Reporter) The Los Angeles Times is once more reshuffling its Hollywood coverage.

Fred Muir, an entertainment editor in the paper’s Business section, is leaving to join PR powerhouse Fleishman-Hillard as senior vice president in the public affairs practice. Meanwhile, Anita Busch, former editor of The Hollywood Reporter, has been hired in the Calendar section as a reporter with expanded responsibilities in shaping entertainment coverage, the paper said Thursday.

As The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have recently beefed up Hollywood reporting, the LA Times‘ coverage is in the midst of a long-term restructuring. The Business section — which has seen at least four entertainment editors in less than three years — added reporters and dropped the “Company Town” label that had been affixed to showbiz news. Calendar, under Deputy Managing Editor John Montorio, has reassigned some editors and sought closer cooperation with Business and other sections.

“We want to be a little edgier, a little newsier, a little more informed,” Montorio said.

Muir, a member of three Pulitzer Prize-winning project teams at the Times, noted that he is entering his 18th year at the paper. “I just finally decided I want to do something different,” he said. At Fleishman-Hillard, Muir will work with SBC/Pacific Bell, Yahoo, and other clients.

The paper is looking for a successor. Deputy Business Editor Ralph Vartabedian conceded that there has been frequent turnover in the position, but he said that isn’t attributable to any single factor. “People move on,” he said. “Fred is a tremendous asset. … We’re going to need to find someone good, and we’re looking both inside and outside the paper.”

In addition to her reporting duties, Busch will “work with other editors … to devise a strategy for entertainment news coverage, develop a news-enterprise team within Calendar, assist in establishing beats and collaborate on the daily assignment agenda,” according to a staff memo Montorio and Features Editor Rick Flaste distributed Thursday.

“We are hoping there will be a natural synergy” with other parts of the paper, Montorio said in an interview.

Busch will start at the paper June 3.

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