Those lazy editors at the Los Angeles Times: now they’re getting outsiders to do their work for them. I’m told the reporting staff is snickering about it, as well they should. But Hollywood is curious how Brian Grazer wound up editing the LAT‘ Sunday “Current” section for March 25th. I’m told that LA Times editorial page and opinion czar Andres Martinez called up the Imagine Entertainment founder/CEO out of the blue about six weeks ago and described a new quarterly “guest editor” program aimed at making the paper’s largely ignored opinion pages “more of a must-read destination”. Then Martinez and LAT colleague Nick Goldberg (and another LATer whom nobody can remember) met with Mr. Eclectic in his Imagine offices and asked to tap into his “creative vision.” I’m told Grazer’s reaction was “This is so cool”. Explains an insider: “After all, Brian has been on this 20-year curiosity journey. They wanted him to pick the subjects and pick the writers and pick topics that were fresh and different and exciting. Sure enough, Brian loved it.” Grazer communicated with the paper by phone and enjoyed total freedom. There wasn’t even any theme. “They never gave him any boundaries,” I’m told. So here’s who and what he put together (and, no, Brian’s favorite scribbler Akiva Goldsman isn’t being paid $500,000 a week to rewrite everybody): Pitbull entertainment litigator Marty Singer wrote a piece about the “power of allegations”; Eric Kandel, the 2000 Nobel prizewinner in psychotherapy and psychiatry, wrote about the “new biology of the mind”; psychologist Paul Ekman who’s a facial interpretation expert wrote about the subject of “catching liars”; Dalton Connelly, an NYU professor wrote about “race and gender in politics”; André Leon Talley, an editor at large at Vogue, wrote about “fashion and status”; and, finally, contemporary graphic designer Shepard Fairey created a drawing to illustrate the package. The LA Times paid all the writers but didn’t even offer to compensate Grazer. (All I can say is: you get what you pay for — though I imagine that Hollywood will especially enjoy the article about catching liars.) Now, before every showbiz flack starts lobbying on behalf of clients/bosses, take note: I’m told Grazer will be the only Hollywood type asked to guest-edit “Current”, at least for 2007. Too bad, because already I’ve received suggestions that Michael Bay or Simon Cowell should follow.
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