New LA Weekly Editor is Owner’s Ex-Girlfriend

Wow. Neon Tommy’s Benjamin Gottlieb dug up a rather sensational scoop in a well-reported story on incoming LA Weekly editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske. It turns out that back when Fenske was a columnist for the Phoenix New Times a few years ago, she dated Mike Lacey–owner of the Weekly‘s parent company Village Voice Media.

This guy:

“We haven’t been involved for years,” Fenske told Neon Tommy. “I would hope that my work would stand for itself.”

Fair enough. Gross though. Very gross.

Anway, Fenske does have a great reputation as a reporter. Even though she has no connection to LA we knew her byline. She recently won the prestigious Livingston Award for young journalists. But being a great reporter and helming the second-largest paper in Los Angeles–a city she has never covered–are two very different things.

Fenske’s only previous editing experience was a 16-month stint as managing editor of the St. Louis Riverfront Times. She inherits a paper that was just hit with layoffs, that lost its star reporter under the previous editor’s tenure and that has its current most award-winning reporter on leave. Not to mention the fact that the former editors of the Weekly, Laurie Ochoa and Joe Donnelly (who were forced out by Fenske’s ex), run the celebrated literary mag Slake. They are very public reminders of the LA Weekly that was–a paper this city truly enjoyed before Lacey stepped in.

Given her age, her unfamiliarity with Los Angeles and her relative lack of experience, Fenske had a lot on her plate the moment she accepted this job. But now that her past relationship with Lacey has come to light, she’s really going to be under the microscope.