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Entertainment Weekly Slashes Staff

by Anne Thompson
November 5, 2009 1:53 AM
7 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Entertainment Weekly lost eleven staffers Wednesday, including four editorial. My old Premiere colleague Christine Spines is out at the West Coast office. What's telling is that she specialized in writing features, something the magazine isn't interested in running anymore, as their stories get shorter and shorter and they waste their best writers on chasing celeb news online. It's rare to see a feature longer than 1800 words; more are in the 800-word range.

Spines will do fine on the magazine feature circuit. (Check out this Babel story as an example of what we no longer see in EW.) But if the magazine continues to head in the direction of USA Today, why buy the print edition?

Also gone from the LA bureau: TV writer Alynda Wheat. And from the NY office: Mark Bernardin and Christine Fenno, who edited the Must List.

Depressing.

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More: Media

7 Comments

  • Ted Murphy | November 6, 2009 12:40 AMReply

    This trend started when Bonnie Fuller took over US magazine which suddenly stopped doing long features. Premiere migrated to the web. Movieline has been resurrected on the web (although there aren't too many long form features on either). I've been a subscriber to EW from the very beginning -- I got the first ever issue and have stuck with it -- but within the last year or so, it has been steadily declining. Features have gotten shorter and they've pushed more web content. A lot of what appears in print has already been on the web for days. It's depressing to think what's happening but I guess it may be part of the cycle of things now. Just not a pleasant one. Will have to think seriously when it comes time to renew EW.

  • Alan Green | November 5, 2009 8:22 AMReply

    nikki

    ooof. can you imagine where we'll be in a decade? right now, already, kids use 'your' for 'you're'. to for too. 'ur' can mean your - or - you are! dont for don't. im for i'm. et cetera, ad infinitum

    all while being careful not to offend with words like 'fuck', preferring to use more non-in-your-face, graphical formations like 'f*ck' instead. a strange new sensibility.

    forget lamenting the disappearance of long form. we're lucky we still have short form. what's next? abbreviated short form (asf)? what comes after that? truncated abbreviation of shortest form (tasf)? i mean, wtf? pretty bad imho. rof lmfao until i cry, no less.

  • nikki leigh | November 5, 2009 7:31 AMReply

    Awesome comments Alan. As an author, I find the current trends in media to be very discouraging and also as a reader. I love reading a well researched and well written piece that helps me learn about a topic, person, situation etc. Its harder and harder to find that quality and sadly, too many people don't miss it.

  • DavidC | November 5, 2009 6:09 AMReply

    EW itself now officially on the "must not" list.

  • Brian | November 5, 2009 4:21 AMReply

    There are lots of things EW can do without, including the Must list, the Shaw Report, and the fashion spreads, but the long feature article is not one of them.

  • Alan Green | November 5, 2009 2:16 AMReply

    what's ironic is, as we've become more able to post material, we are less apt to do so. (or, i suppose, it's more correct to say we are less able to do so considering the current environment)

    can you imagine what a good reporter in the 50s could have accomplished if he/she could post using a laptop, on wi-fi, from the local coffee shop. instead, they had to go back to the office, and type up (on a typewriter) several pages -- on paper. and, that was just the beginning of a collaboration with editors, photogs, etc.

    yet, back then, the tendency was to do true long form. a piece might be 2000-8000 words. a series might run for a week or months. people/publications would win prizes for dedicating themselves to a story for a year, and changing the world because of it.

    as the ability of technology to deliver more media increases, the attention span for said media decreases - yet the appetite for it keeps going up. so, we have more and more of less and less.

  • Alan Green | November 5, 2009 2:09 AMReply

    when you refer to an 800-word write up as a 'feature', that is depressing.

    800 words used to be a blurb. longish for a blurb, granted. maybe it would qualify as a light-weight 'write-up'. but, a feature? a page-and-a-half feature? yes, depressing, where we've ended up. i hate to think where we're going...

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