We just lost two soldiers to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's bulging press office.
Whoever predicted that L.A.'s best journalists might all soon be working for the enemy, tempted by a secure job and cush benefits amid this Great Recession and death o' journalism: You were right.
“Two new communications staffers joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's press office this week” …
… reports City News Service. Their names are Amanda Parsons, a
current former entertainment reporter blurbist for the OC Weekly (the LA Weekly's sister paper in our bordering county of Kristin Cavalaris and racist politicians), and, more surprisingly, Vicki Curry, a longtime producer for “SoCal Connected,” our favorite local show on government accountability.
City News reports that Curry “won four Emmy Awards and six Golden Mike Awards for her reporting.” Now, she's either going to be every newspaper's best friend — telling us all what's really going on at City Hall — or her award-winning talent will be wasted on more, uh, mayoral YouTube responses to Conan O'Brien.
The mayor's communications office already has about 10 staffers, says someone who works in the office, but who later tells us that he cannot be quoted on the record. And that doesn't include the mayor's “new media” office, which handles Twitter, Facebook and other social-media stuff.
[Update: Peter Sanders, the mayor's senior press secretary, says via email, “We have six people in the press office and two in the 'new media' office.” Back in May 2011, LA Weekly reporter Patrick Range McDonald found that of almost 200 mayoral staffers (no joke), “nine employees work in his press office, three on 'new media.']
The ultimate irony in all of this: Due to insufficient funding, SoCal Connected had its shortest run ever this season, despite heaps of accolades for an expose on corruption at the L.A. housing authority. (Part of which Mayor Villaraigosa knew about.)
WTF! Pretty soon, the only news blogs of records will be taxpayer-funded, politically lilted ones that belong to our elected officials, a la Zev's Blog. Because even though there's allegedly negative money in city/county/state coffers, there's somehow still enough to keep the damage-control room fully staffed.