Tribune Company has announced the creation of an online entertainment news bureau that will provide original, multimedia content to the company’s newspaper and television websites. The bureau will be powered by the combined resources of the Los Angeles Times , long the country’s premier outlet for entertainment industry news, and Zap2it , the leading online source of movie and television listings.
The bureau will deliver expanded coverage of movies and television, and will leverage writers and reporters from across Tribune to bring readers constantly updated blogs and other multimedia news on more than 60 top TV shows. One of the team’s first editorial projects will be a behind-the-scenes look at the unstoppable phenomenon of “American Idol.” While located at The Times, the bureau’s editorial content will be aggregated on the Zap2it portal, which will be enhanced and re-launched early this year.
“The Los Angeles Times covers entertainment like no one else, and it’s a natural fit to locate Tribune’s online bureau here,” said Russ Stanton, Los Angeles Times editor. “This allows us to combine the best of Tribune’s entertainment content with Zap2it’s industry-leading movie and TV listings to reach an even greater audience.”
The new bureau will serve a combined online audience of about 9 million unique visitors viewing 65 million pages a month across all Tribune online entertainment offerings.
“This bureau will work with reporting and producing teams at all our newspapers and TV stations to bring our audiences the most complete, behind-the-scenes entertainment report on the Web,” said Marc Chase, president of Tribune Interactive. “Zap2it is now also well positioned to become a national one-stop for the best TV, movie and celebrity news and buzz.”
Times editors and veteran entertainment journalists Richard Rushfield and Joseph Kapsch will lead the operation, working closely with colleagues at The Times, Tribune Interactive, Zap2it and across all Tribune newspapers.
Rushfield has been named director/national entertainment programming for “The Syndicate,” Tribune Interactive’s new online marketplace. He will be responsible for coordinating coverage among Tribune sites and will continue to serve as entertainment editor for latimes.com.
Kapsch has been named editorial director for Zap2it.com, and will oversee the expansion of Zap2it into a national entertainment portal, aggregating information from Tribune sources as well as a network of entertainment bloggers. He will oversee a redesign of Zap2it, launching in the first half of the year. Kapsch will also retain his current responsibilities as executive producer/entertainment, latimes.com.
Delivering exclusive, behind-the-scenes coverage of Fox’s talent show juggernaut “American Idol” will be one of the bureau’s first projects.
“The more than 4 million fans who visit Zap2it each month will not only find a richer, more informative site, but one that still has the detailed TV and movie listings and showtimes they depend on,” said Rebecca Baldwin, general manager of Zap2it.
TRIBUNE is America’s largest employee-owned media company, operating businesses in publishing, interactive and broadcasting. In publishing, Tribune’s leading daily newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, Morning Call and Daily Press. The company’s broadcasting group operates 23 television stations, WGN America on national cable, Chicago’s WGN-AM and the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Popular news and information websites complement Tribune’s print and broadcast properties and extend the company’s nationwide audience. At Tribune we take what we do seriously and with a great deal of pride. We also value the creative spirit and nurture a corporate culture that doesn’t take itself too seriously.