This past week has been one filled with change. On Tuesday night, we learned the West Hollywood City Council would be getting two new members. On Saturday morning, after an agonizingly long four days of waiting, we finally learned we would be getting a new president. Then on Sunday morning, we learned that WEHOville would be getting a new editor.
WEHOville’s editor and publisher Henry Scott announced he was stepping down from his duties after eight years. With that announcement came the news that I would be the new editor of WEHOville, effective today.
Stepping into Henry’s shoes is a tremendous honor, one I am both flattered and humbled to undertake. Being named editor is a great vote of confidence and I hope I can do half as good a job as Henry did. He uncovered many stories and fearlessly tackled many controversies during his tenure, and I hope to do the same.
Many of you already know me. I’ve been reporting on West Hollywood since 2006, first covering the city on an occasional basis for the now defunct Frontiers Magazine (thanks to Frontiers’ then editor Alex Cho for taking a chance on me).
I began covering the city regularly in 2010, when AOL launched its West Hollywood Patch website (thanks to WeHo Patch’s original editor Nancy Rodriquez for initially giving me assignments and to Danielle Jacoby, the subsequent WeHo Patch editor, for continuing to use me).
Reporting on West Hollywood turned out to be a perfect fit for me. I’d worked for a newspaper in my home state of North Carolina prior to moving to California, and while I loved that job, it never made my heart sing quite the way covering West Hollywood does. That’s in large part because of the many WeHo residents I’ve gotten to know in the course of doing the job, all people passionate about this city, many of whom I now call friends.
Eventually, I moved up to become the editor of the WeHo Patch site and my love affair with the city continued. (Many thanks to Patch regional editor Richard Core for giving me that promotion and for patiently working with me).
Unfortunately, budget cutbacks caused AOL to lay me off as Patch editor in Sept. 2012. I begrudgingly assumed my days of reporting on West Hollywood were over as I began searching for a new job, hoping I could find another place I would love as much as West Hollywood.
Then, fate intervened. Just two weeks after being laid off, Henry launched WEHOville and invited me to join his team! I’d had lunch with Henry a few times while serving as Patch editor; he’d even written an op-ed piece for me at Patch. I knew of his desire to start a WeHo-focused website, but thought it was still months away. How fortunate was I that he was launching WEHOville right after I was laid off!
I naturally jumped at the chance to continue to use the knowledge, expertise and connections I’d built up to cover the city. So, I got to keep reporting on City Council meetings, Planning Commission meetings and so much more. Yes, call me a nerd if you want, but I really enjoy covering those meetings (despite how tedious they can sometimes be).
I also was able to continue writing about the many fascinating people, businesses, organizations and issues of concern, all of which help to make West Hollywood the unique place that it is. This may be a city of just 35,000 people, but it has a huge footprint compared to other similarly sized cities. What happens here gets reported on around the globe. I’m lucky enough to have been the person who first reported on many of the happenings which the national and international press subsequently covered.
While I know West Hollywood and its residents well, I still have some things to learn about the Word Press Content Management System which WEHOville uses. I’m adept at the basics of this CMS, but some of the particulars for the WEHOville site I have yet to master. So, please bear with me if I don’t get everything perfect right away.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Henry for hiring me back in 2012. I’ve learned a lot working with him and grown as a journalist. Yes, we’ve butted heads from time to time, but he’s become a mentor to me, as well as a trusted advisor and someone I consider a friend.
I look forward to working with all of you and covering this amazing and ever captivating city of West Hollywood. Feel free to email me with story tips, op-ed ideas or just to say hello. My email is James@WEHOville.com
See you all around town. In the meantime, be safe, be well and stay healthy. Thanks for being WEHOville readers.