The L.A. Weekly has named Ben Westhoff as its music editor, filling the slot left vacant by Gustavo Turner last month.
The response to Ben Westhoff's "The Efron Scandal," which "revealed" that Lil' Wayne and Zac Efron were working together on High School Musical 2: Non-Stop Dance Party and that the two even shared a "full-on kiss," was enough to temporarily crash the Weekly's servers, the paper reports. But not everyone got the joke: the story was picked up as truth by outlets as diverse at VH1 and the British tabloid The Sun. "The overwhelming impression I have over the hysteria 'The Efron Scandal' has generated is that some people don't recognize comedy gold, even as it's repeatedly conking them upside their thick heads," writes Weekly music editor Dave Segal.
Earlier this month, the National Association of Black Journalists announced the winners of the 2007 Salute to Excellence Awards, which "recognize exemplary coverage of people of color or issues in the African Diaspora." Riverfront Times took home two first-place awards: Kristen Hinman for her "Basketball by the Book" series, in the Enterprise division; and Ben Westhoff for "Ace of Spaides," in the Business division. Seattle Weekly's Nina Shapiro also placed first in the Feature division for "Schooling the District."
The finalists in the National Association of Black Journalists' 2006 Salute to Excellence Awards were announced Friday, and six of the nine nominations in the "Newspaper - Circulation Under 150,000" division are Village Voice Media newspapers. The other three finalists are not alt-weeklies. Riverfront Times is the leader with three nominations: "Newspaper - Enterprise" for Randall Roberts' "It Was Just Like Beverly Hills"; "Newspaper - Sports" for Mike Seely's "Alley Cat"; and "Newspaper - Features" for Ben Westhoff's "Rap vs. Rapture." Dallas Observer has two contenders in the "Newspaper - Sports" category: Keven McAlester for "Balls Out" and Paul Kix for "Alone No More." Finally, Chuck Strouse of Miami New Times is nominated in the "Newspaper - Commentary" category for "Free this Priest." The awards recognize exemplary coverage of people or issues in the African diaspora. Winners will be announced August 19 at the NABJ convention in Indianapolis.
Ben Westhoff, a staff writer at the St. Louis alt-weekly, has been nominated for the Religion Newswriters Association's Templeton Story of the Year award for a feature titled "Jesus For Juniors," which ran on June 23. Read RNA's announcement here.