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Transitions in Media World, from Time Warner Mags to a Variety Reboot; Sragow Returns to L.A.

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 19, 2013 at 7:12PM

Sad but true. The march of time continues to bring inevitable shifts in the media world. Newsweek has been swallowed by The Daily Beast. And now Time Warner's publishing arm is considering creating a new joint magazine venture with broadcast giant Meredith Corporation focused on women's titles. Meanwhile Jay Penske, CEO of Variety parent Penske Media Corp, is about to reveal his reboot of Variety amid considerable anxiety at the venerable trade.
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Variety Signs a New Lease
Variety Signs a New Lease

Thanks to all of you for your continued hard work. And we want to assure you again that Variety’s new owner, Jay Penske and Penske Business Media, are very aware of Variety’s great legacy, and the importance of our editorial coverage. People in the newsroom here are feeling very positive about all this.

Under PBM, there will be a new process for invoice submission and payment. Penske Media will be processing invoices once a month, at the end of the month. This means that, effective immediately, PBM will process approved invoices by the 15th of the following month. You will receive an email from Krystal Henderson at the end of the month that will include any work for Daily, Web, Features, Weekly and Reviews to confirm before payments  are processed.

So, for example, you will be paid mid-January for work that you do during December.

However, I ask a professional courtesy. Most freelancers will be paid at a different, slower rate than you. There are just a few of you that we put on an accelerated schedule. But please, it will make it easier for all of us if you don’t discuss your timetable with others. We value everyone’s contributions, and we don’t want anyone to feel left out. So it would help if you keep payment discussions to a minimum.

Yes, it’s an adjustment for everyone. This is a different payment timetable than the one used under the old regime, and even the slower rate is closer to the payment system of most other publications.

Trust me, the PBM folks are good people and we hope there are no inconveniences here. And be assured that the advantages of the new owners will far outweigh those. They have great ideas about revving up Variety, and we will keep you posted as we get closer to making these happen. I cannot stress enough how much Variety feels reinvigorated under Jay and his team. And this means opportunities for you. Jay and the team want to encourage each of you to be the Variety representative in your territory. In addition to your assigned pieces, we want you to help Variety remain the thought leader for the industry. Some people fear that changes mean cutbacks. I’m telling you, it’s just the opposite here. We want you to continue with big-picture think pieces and/or reviews that are instructive to others in the industry.

Also, help raise Variety’s profile via YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, your appearances on TV-radio-web programs, whatever. Also, think of events in your territory that Variety could partner with, or events that Variety should initiate. In other words, it’s a new world of journalism. Editorial stories and reviews (in print and on the web) will always be the engine driving this, but think about how to expand the Variety footprint. We will follow up with more details, but we want you to start thinking about this.

Again, thanks. Let me know if you have questions,

 Tim

This article is related to: Variety , Media, New Media & Technology, News


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.