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Hofmeister to head new Arts & Entertainment group

February 25, 2009 | 12:26 pm

Here's the memo from Editor Russ Stanton:


Entertainment is Southern California's signature industry and biggest global export. With more than 50 reporters, editors and producers in Calendar, in Business and at, we have among the largest number of journalists  -- and the best report -- in town on this important subject.

For several years, our staffs covering entertainment, the business of entertainment and the arts have been located on different floors and our coverage strategy could best be described as loosely coordinated. That approach is inadequate today given that we face fierce competition, have moved to an integrated newsroom and publish in different mediums.

Today we are establishing a new department that will be headed by Sallie Hofmeister, who is leaving her post as business editor for the masthead job of Assistant Managing Editor/Arts & Entertainment. She will report to Managing Editor Davan Maharaj.

Joining Sallie will be Craig Turner, who is leaving his position as weekend editor to become Arts & Entertainment Editor. Craig has spent the past seven years guiding our best enterprise efforts into our two biggest circulation days of the week, Saturday and Sunday. Sallie and Craig will oversee the merging of our entertainment reporting groups in Calendar and Business, and they will work closely with Richard Rushfield and Joseph Kapsch at as we continue to expand our online entertainment news and information offerings.

Combining the teams in Calendar and Business will broaden the reach, breadth and depth of our multimedia coverage. The goal remains to produce a high-quality and unique base of content that can be distributed to different audiences through different mediums. We will continue to write authoritatively about industry trends for our large print and online audiences, and look for smart and entertaining ways to cover Hollywood's movers and shakers and the celebrities who make Southern California their home. As part of this combination, we are bringing back Company Town, a package of stories and other data focused on the business of entertainment, to the Business section. It will return on Tuesday, March 3.

Sallie was named business editor in May 2008 and has led our outstanding coverage of the global financial meltdown. She and her team in Business did so against formidable and better-staffed competition. Before that, Sallie headed up the section's coverage of entertainment and technology and coordinated coverage of the 2007 Hollywood writers strike that crippled the television industry. That work was a finalist in the breaking-news category of the Gerald Loeb Awards.

She brings to this new assignment a deep knowledge of deal making, the inner workings of Hollywood and an impressive Rolodex of industry leaders. Before becoming an editor in 2006, Sallie was one of the top media reporters in the country, chronicling for more than a decade the rapid consolidation of the entertainment and media businesses. Her industry acumen is exceeded only by her passion for fashion: Sallie's armada of trendy eyeglasses and accompanying shoes has no peer in American journalism.

Craig's first job at The Times was as an intern in Orange County the summer before his senior year at San Jose State and, except for returning to school to obtain his degree, he has been here ever since, racking up a broad range of experience. He worked in our Orange County and San Diego editions before coming downtown to become state editor on the Metro desk and later  Metro editor. Craig then moved to the Foreign staff, where he spent five years covering the United Nations and Canada. While there, he wrote stories on film, theater and television for the Calendar and Business sections.

Since 2001, Craig has chaired our Pulitzer Prize nomination committee and also selected entries for the many other journalism contests we enter each year. This will no doubt be helpful in his new assignment, as the only industry in America that hands out more awards to itself than journalism is show business. As I learned firsthand when I was business editor, Craig is an advocate and an ally in increasing the number of entertainment stories on A1. He and his wife, Joyce, are frequent theater, movie and concert goers.

Russ Stanton