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Inside Move: N.Y. Times taps Waxman

Former Washington Post reporter takes H'wood beat

HOLLYWOOD — The New York Times has hired Sharon Waxman from the Washington Post to cover Hollywood for its cultural desk.

Waxman fills a position vacated by Rick Lyman, who returned to the Times’ Gotham headquarters this past summer and is now working for the national desk. No start date has been set for Waxman, but she told Daily Variety she will start the gig sometime next month.

Waxman has been a Post correspondent in Los Angeles since 1995, covering Hollywood for the Post’s Style section.

She took a book leave this summer to write “The Rebels” for Harper Collins. Tome looks at the group of young writer-directors that emerged in the mid-1990s, such as Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh, and their battles inside the studio system. Waxman said a 2005 publication is currently planned.

She joins the Times in the midst of a retooling of its cultural coverage. Adam Moss was recently named assistant managing editor for features; culture editor Steve Erlanger and Arts & Leisure editor Jodi Kantor are also still relatively new in their jobs.

The process of change at the culture desk was largely started by former executive editor Howell Raines, who resigned late last spring. Those changes have largely continued under current executive editor Bill Keller.

One of the aims has been to bring more news into the Times cultural pages.

“They want as much news as I can give them,” Waxman said. “They’re in the process of shifting and recharging the cultural coverage at the New York Times in general.”

Moss said Waxman’s job will be to “cover Hollywood in all of its glorious aspects, as an industry, a community, a barometer. The Hollywood correspondent should translate its folkways to the rest of the world, and it should explore how Hollywood mirrors American taste.”

The Times will continue to split its Hollywood beat between the culture desk and its business desk, a divide that has been criticized by Times insiders in the past. Laura Holson is continuing on the Hollywood biz beat.

With Waxman charged to cover some of the same turf as Holson, the two beats seems to have blurred somewhat. Moss distinguished the two: “Laura covers it more from a business perspective, and Sharon will cover it from a cultural perspective, both culture with a small ‘C’ and the culture Hollywood produces.”

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