So who’s taking the Los Angeles Times buyout? LAObserved.com has posted the up-to-date list. Interestingly, I’ve heard from sources that it’s “Let’s Make a Deal” time at the paper for reporters and editors: all offers will be considered by management seeking to eliminate 100-150 jobs at the paper even if the terms don’t exactly match those presented. (The “Employee Voluntary Separation Program” consists of two weeks pay and benefits for every year the employee has worked for the Times. Some sections of the paper were ineligible.) Of interest to Hollywood: controversial Senior Calendar Editor Lennie LaGuire is taking the buyout. Editors of daily, Sunday and Weekend Calendar reported to her. But she also oversaw the embarrassing Envelope awards-season special section coverage this past year, which remains a huge blemish on the Times’ journalistic integrity. Opinions inside the Los Angeles Times are wildly divided about LaGuire. On the one hand, she’s praised for being aggressive about news coverage. On the other hand, her minions felt her approach was scattershot and translated into a new set of operating principles every other week that sent them in a myriad different directions and left them confused about her priorities. Soon after she joined Calendar as Entertainment Editor in 2002, I received many complaints about how clueless she was about the Industry. But LaGuire schooled herself to the point where she now ably feigns knowledge of the beat. She’s under consideration to be editor of The Hollywood Reporter but so are many others (the paper hired an executive search firm). How would LaGuire fare? “She’s a formidable presence. Her management style can grate on people but I grew to respect her,” one LA Times underling tells me. “I do think she’d be able to make The Hollywood Reporter very competitive.” Meanwhile, THR John Kilcullen is telling insiders he’s looking for a new editor “along the lines of Ken Auletta.” No, he wasn’t joking.
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