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Called WEHOville.com, the site claims to be “the definitive source of news and information about the people and life of California's most creative city.”
The creators of the site hope to launch in late September.
The site says its mission is “to foster an informed and engaged community in West Hollywood, a city we love for its style, its culture, its diversity, and its wackiness.”
The person behind the site, Henry Scott, is brand new to the city, having moved to West Hollywood from the East coast in October, 2011.
Shortly upon arriving in the Creative City, in January of 2012, he made an offer to buy one-half of WeHo News.
According to publisher Ryan Gierach, a firm verbal agreement to recapitalize WeHo News fell through in May when Mr. Scott told him that a) he would not consider investing in a web-based news source, preferring to remain in print media, b) his own projects prevented him from committing sufficient time and energy to publishing a media outlet c) that WeHo News’ reporting failed to meet his own editorial standards and d) if he were to take on WeHo News, he would not only want a majority position, he would push founding publisher and editor Mr. Gierach out to take a 100 percent ownership position while "possibly" offering him employment as an editor.
Mr. Gierach, however, has documentary evidence that showed Mr. Scott had indeed been working on a business plan and seeking investors for the firm, even agreeing to make updates on the site if needed during Mr. Gierach's hiatus in February through April.
Ryan Gierach, WeHo News founding publisher/editor, write the history of the city of West Hollywood, the only such history yet published. Follow this link to obtain a copy.
Mr. Scott responded to Mr. Gierach's factual presentation of his work history and his editor's city of residence (see below) in a highly unusual way for a journalist, saying, "Let's not get hung up on facts."
Regardless of whether or not WeHoville.com will "get hung up on facts," the publication promises it will define the news and information for Wehoans - from outside the city.
Not yet even launched, the site's Facebook page claims that WEHOville.com is already "The best, and only truly local and professional, website devoted to covering California's most creative, progressive and entertaining community." (emphasis ours)
All of the new hires hail from LA, for Mr. Scott has hired exclusively outsiders to write the stories of the "city we love."
Giving lie to their claim of being the only truly local news, lifestyle and information publication in town is the fact that WeHo News is wholly community-generated.
The exceptions are people like US Congress member Adam Schiff, or now-LA resident, former candidate for Assembly Torie Osborn and LA City Council member Paul Koretz, who once resided in West Hollywood when he served as a council and state assembly member.
According to sources, freelancer and Echo Park resident Hillel Aron will provide WEHOville.com with freelance editorial services.
An announcement on the firm’s Facebook page yesterday said that Los Angelino Daniela Ruelas will be the company’s first Director of Marketing and Advertising.
Mr. Scott has a past in media, mostly consulting, that spans over 20 years.
Dan Watson, of Pasadena (or Studio City, depending on when you look at his Facebook page), will edit the new WeHo publication. From Mr. Watson's Facebook page.
According to LinkedIn, he has for four years been, “managing director of the interMediator group, a consortium of media professionals who provide services including strategy, product development, sales training, interim and turnaround management, strategic communications, and executive recruiting. Scott also is CEO of Gansevoort Target Media, which prepares special reports for its sponsor clients for distribution through various media.”
He has held a seven or eight positions of employment in media over the past 18 years – none of them for longer than five years (excluding investment and ownership stakes).
Mr. Scott's average time in a position of employment was a little over 2.5 years.
After that, he bounced around as publisher for a variety of monthlies and weeklies in addition to operating a pair of his own publishing/media houses.
One area of experience that he can bring to bear in WeHo that may give his venture a chance at success in West Hollywood is his ability to find financing.
From 2000 through 2009, Mr. Scott was an investor in and member of Plum Capital, a media venture fund, a history that ought to provide him access to ready capital to function while the site builds readership.
AOL's Patch experiment is failing, causing a re-thinking of the site and a withdrawal from news coverage in favor of listings and commercial directories.
Ad Age writes, “In an interview after the earnings call, Mr. Armstrong expanded on these thoughts, saying that the new Patch, to be unveiled later this year, ‘is really about unlocking the vitality in towns...groups, commerce, and the social aspects of towns for a much deeper, richer engagement level.’”
Each of the 850-odd AOL Patch sites cost in excess of $150,000 to begin, with costs of over $100,000 to staff and operate.