LA Weekly Loses Web Editor to… Modern Farmer !?

Nothing against Modern Farmer, a print quarterly and companion website launching in the spring. But when west coast media folks like LA Weekly Web editor Jake Swearingen make the sideways career jump, it’s typically to an enterprise with a Twitter handle like @ModernFam, not @ModFarm.

Equally strange, at least to us, is the fact that Modern Farmer is headquartered not in Nebraska but rather New York City Hudson, NY. Swearingen is making the cross-country journey now with his girlfriend. He has been replaced at LA Weekly by Ali Trachta.

“Jake has been the architect of the Weekly‘s Web strategy – and a damn good one,” editor-in-chief Sarah Fenske tells FishbowlLA. “In 2012, we saw a 22% increase in unique visitors and 55% increase in page views from the prior year. That was all Jake.”

“He had a talent for writing the sort of Web headlines that draw readers in, and a sort of sixth sense for what stories could pop if given the right social media attention. He’s just an incredibly smart guy, and a nice one, too. We’re all going to miss him like crazy.”

Swearingen came over in January 2012 from sister publication SF Weekly. Trachta meanwhile started at LA Weekly in January 2010 as a marketing assistant and moved up to the editorial department six months later (first as assistant to the editor, then as editorial manager).

“If there’s a silver lining in Jake’s departure,” notes Fenske, “it’s that Ali is more than ready to step into this role. She’s that perfect combination of creative and analytical – as well as being a talented journalist who really gets the Web. I can’t wait to see what she’ll do in this position.”

Trachta has also contributed the occasional article to the Weekly. Here for example is a recent November 1, 2012 piece – “Diana Lado Gets Paid to Simply Be Cool.” Congrats to her and Swearingen.