The big shakeup at this trade magazine that was once owned by the mogul and has repeatedly covered up for the disgraced A list director’s crimes will hopefully bring a fresh look at things.
The Hollywood Reporter
Matthew Belloni – Editorial Director
Inside Matthew Belloni’s Abrupt Exit as The Hollywood Reporter’s Editorial Director
Matthew Belloni resigned as editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter due to intense conflicts with Modi Wiczyk and Asif Satchu, the co-CEOs of the trade’s owners, Valence Media, over their attempts to meddle with the publication’s editorial independence.
Valence had been trying to convince Belloni to give them a head’s up about stories that negatively impact their business interests, according to a knowledgable insider. There was also a growing frustration at Valence’s attempts to use the publication to push projects that it had invested in or backed. Valence owns Dick Clark Productions, Billboard and Media Rights Capital, making its constellation of business partnerships both tangled and expansive. Billboard-The Hollywood Reporter Media Group president Deanna Brown also reportedly pushed Belloni to dial back on coverage that was snarky or harder hitting. In a memo to staff, Belloni alluded to tensions with the publication’s ownership even as he called his exit “100% amicable.”
“Journalists being journalists, some may wonder: Why now,” Belloni wrote. “No, the current global situation didn’t play a role in my exit. (In fact, it makes it even harder to leave this team when we’re rising to the occasion and covering the crisis as well as we are.) Today’s announcement is the result of a series of conversations I’ve had for a few months with Modi about the direction at THR. Some may want to read into that, but I’ll just say that well-meaning, diligent, ambitious people can disagree about fundamental priorities and strategies.”
There were a series of high-level tele-meetings in recent weeks as THR staff worked remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Valence enlisted Kelly McBride, senior vice president of The Poynter Institute, 18 months ago to enact ethics training for the editorial brands and senior leadership, Valence confirmed. McBride said training has been held for both THR and Billboard, though the company’s executive leadership was not given ethics presentations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The THR call with McBride contained “a lot of drama,” according to a second insider, with staffers balking at Valence’s meddling.
Sources said Wiczyk and Satchu wanted to come up with a list of people and institutions that it might be problematic for THR to cover, something that Belloni believed was untenable. He was told to embrace the new order or resign. – Source
Bosses Ordered Hollywood Reporter Chief to Be Nicer to JLo
Before The Hollywood Reporter’s top editor resigned, he was told by his bosses: Tiptoe around Jennifer Lopez, lay off Louise Linton, stop talking so much about box office “bombs,” and ease up on the “negative coverage of the industry.”
According to multiple company sources and documents reviewed by The Daily Beast, THR editorial director Matthew Belloni’s departure on Monday came after high-level clashes with the heads of the magazine’s parent company, Valence Media, and partner company MRC. Company higher-ups attempted to kill stories, influence the tone of coverage, and discourage negative reporting on “sensitive” individuals and companies.
Belloni declined to speak, and referred The Daily Beast to Valence. But in an email to staff on Monday obtained by The Daily Beast, he seemed to allude to friction between himself and the company’s leadership.
“Today’s announcement is the result of conversations I’ve had for months with Modi [Wiczyk, one of Valence’s CEOs] about the direction at THR,” he wrote. “Some may want to read into that, but I’ll just say that well-meaning, diligent, ambitious people can disagree about the fundamental priorities and strategies. That’s what happened here, and my exit is 100% amicable.” – Source