Village Voice honcho Mike Lacey writes LA Observed a letter to set things straight about the LA Weekly’s cross town move, editors, departing writers, and just about everything, and after checking around to make sure it wasn’t a fake and hearing from Lacey’s lawyer–KRod posts it, with annotations. Laurie Ochoa wrote him as well, despite his claims to never hear from her.
FBLA hears that a few other people have written to protest his increasingly personal attacks on LA Weekly news editor Jill Stewart, who’s been our editor a few times. One of these is Diana Lungaeus of the LA Press Club, who kindly allowed us to post her letter here:
From: “Diana Ljungaeus”
Subject: Defending Jill Stewart
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 00:11:45 -0800
I had really hoped to stay out of this for several reasons – one being that I am the executive director of Los Angeles Press Club. Let me, therefore, point out that I am writing this solely as a friend and colleague of Jill Stewart. To see her persecuted by LA Observed in the way that I have witnessed of late not only hurts her, but damages journalism itself. Jill would never, not even in “attack-mode,” single out another writer by name as untrustworthy or unethical. She of course gladly will go after news institutions and their weak, non-substantive, gossipy news coverage.
Your description of Jill as somebody journalists cannot work with couldn’t be further from the truth. I know this because for several years we worked together on the Press Club board, where she was a popular leader–managing to get busy journalists to work as a team even though this often can be compared to herding cats. And, most importantly, she did this with good humor and was well-liked, even by writers from competitor organizations. Among her many responsibilities she was the editor for our newsletter, The 8 Ball, for four years. During this period she motivated a large mix of volunteers to take time out from their busy schedules to write for the 8 Ball–Bob Baker, Alex Ben Block, Michael Collins, Ted Johnson, myself and Karen Ocamb, to mention a few.
We all know Jill as a hard worker who makes things happen. I also know Jill as an editor, having written for her for the Weekly. Not many others would have given me that chance, knowing I write English as a second language. My first assignment for Jill was “Malibu Bad Neighbor,” about the son of an African dictator who bought the most expensive home in Malibu and is trying to become a force in Hollywood. The story was ignored by local media, even though a national network currently is digging into it–thanks to the Weekly coverage.
Another reason I am inclined to defend her is that Jill brings solid news coverage to LA Weekly. Jill marches to the beat of her own drum and we sometimes disagree, however, she is “independent” in the deepest sense of that word and I salute her for it!
Some speculate that Stewart’s take down of the LA Times’ Arnold groping stories may have cost that team of writers a Pulitzer nod. Could Roderick be trying to avenge the John Carroll crowd? And after the paper had been so nice to him, too.