Series-Skipper: Shaw Must Go On!

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Feb. 20 2001 3:21 AM

Series-Skipper: Shaw Must Go On!

Series-Skipper™ is a new service from kausfiles that lets readers avoid award-winning newspaper series without fear of missing anything good. (For more on the rationale for Series-Skipper™, click here.) Today's edition summarizes a characteristically bloated effort from the Los Angeles Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning media reporter, David Shaw. But because time is precious to our readers, and Shaw's series is especially unrewarding, we are introducing an additional feature, Series-Skipper-Skipper™, which lets readers know if it's worth reading even a summary of the series.

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Series: "Lights, Camera, Reaction--How the news media cover Hollywood," by David Shaw, Los Angeles Times, four parts, Feb. 12-15.

Series-Skipper-Skipper™--Is it worth reading the following Series-Skipper™ summary of this series? No. Read something else. You won't miss much.

What the series says:

Part 1: The press focuses too much on "box office grosses and budget overruns," puff pieces and gossip tidbits, and spends too little time on "investigative reporting, insightful profiles, and provocative analyses." Box office numbers are often manipulated by the studios; accurate budget figures are hard to get too.

Part 2:  People in Hollywood routinely lie to reporters. Sources often don't like to be quoted by name. Former Disney studio chief Joe Roth gets good press because he's relatively honest.

Part 3: Variety and the Hollywood Reporter have an intense rivalry. They too often allow themselves to be spun, and "seem more interested in being first than in being right." Anita Busch, editor of Hollywood Reporter, "has never married." That's because she's "married to her job"!

Part 4:  The L.A.Times used to be soft on Hollywood. Now it's getting better, but it's still not as good as the Wall Street Journal. Detractors of the LAT's Claudia Eller say she "uses her stories to flatter her favorites and denigrate" those she doesn't like. She denies it. Joe Roth gets good press because he's relatively honest.

Does Shaw give an example of an actual box office figure that was actually manipulated? No. But he only has 16,000 words!

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