Noting that Los Angeles CityBeat was "pretty much birthed here in the offices of the Pasadena Weekly," Kevin Uhrich looks back at the life of his Southland Publishing sister paper, which folded last week. He also asks the obvious question: Could the same fate befall the Weekly? "I don't think so," he writes. "However, I can say with some certainty -- just by virtue of being on staff with one of the few papers still upright on a rapidly diminishing print media landscape -- that if that day ever comes, there will probably be no newspapers around anymore to note our passing."
Mediabistro's Fishbowl LA has gathered some blog posts by writers and photographers who were involved with the alt-weekly, which ceased publication last week. Photographer Ted Soqui and writers Donnell Alexander, Dennis Romero and Luke Y. Thompson all weigh in.
"I had a great morning today," CityBeat publisher Will Swaim told L.A. Weekly on Friday. "I came to work and hurled in the 'executive bathroom,' brushed my teeth and made the announcement." Swaim and senior editor Matt Fleischer both say there hadn't been any chatter about the paper closing in the last few weeks, and there wasn't any discussion of making CityBeat biweekly or online-only. MORE: The Los Angeles Times says the paper's closure "will -- at least temporarily -- silence more critical voices on arts and entertainment in Los Angeles."
Southland Publishing president Bruce Bolkin announced this morning that the alt-weekly's March 26 issue will be its last. "For 6 years, the Los Angeles CityBeat has offered a fresh perspective to the readers of Los Angeles, and Southland is extremely proud of its writers and entire staff who have contributed to the paper," says Bolkin.
Schoenkopf gave her notice this week, according to an email obtained by LA Observed. She had been CityBeat's editor since April. It is not clear who will replace her, or if newly named publisher Will Swaim will take on double-duty as publisher and editor, as he did for a time at OC Weekly.
Will Swaim has been named publisher of LA CityBeat and New Angeles Magazine, effective Nov. 10. Swaim was most recently the founding editor and publisher of The District Weekly, a non-AAN weekly in Long Beach. Prior to that, he was OC Weekly's founding editor in 1995, and went on to become publisher of that paper as well, before stepping down in January 2007. At CityBeat, he'll be reunited with former Weekly colleague Rebecca Schoenkopf, who is now CityBeat's editor. "LA CityBeat and New Angeles are terrific publications," Swaim says in a release. "I'm thrilled to have this chance to use what I've learned in Orange County and Long Beach to help them reach their enormous potential."
The executive publisher of Southland's Los Angeles CityBeat and executive vice president of sales for the chain's other AAN papers announced yesterday that he's leaving on Oct. 17 to join the Barack Obama campaign as a fundraiser and committee leader for California and Nevada. "As a life-long Republican I am seen as a crucial leader in the fight to win votes and raise money for the Senator amongst undecided Republicans and Independents, particularly in the States of Nevada and Colorado which are key Western battleground states," he wrote in an email to colleagues. Gerencser was also a member of the AAN Marketing Committee. As for life after the campaign, he notes that he's applied to two doctoral programs for admission as early as Spring 2009.
The "Commie Girl" columnist and former OC Weekly staffer was named editor of Los Angeles CityBeat this Spring amidst a relaunch of the paper. She says she's already receiving hate mail. One person wrote in to ask: "'Who's this inane, vulgar, rambling, trite girl who's a terrible writer and has a potty mouth'," she tells the Guardian. "And I was like, 'You live in Los Angeles, are you really that sheltered?'" Schoenkopf also says that she's now realized she willing blinded herself about notoriously conservative Orange County while she was there. "It's not the conservatism that bothers me: it's the nastiness," she says The nattering classes I'd thought were fringey were in fact the decision makers."