A look at five Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members and the publications they work for
Journalist: Lawrie Masterson
Publication: Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia
Masterson, originally from Melbourne, writes for a group of Sunday newspapers, including Melbourne’s Sunday Herald Sun.
He was editing Australia’s TV Week magazine when he was sent to Hollywood 10 years ago. A few years later, he decided to go freelance, mainly working for the News Limited Sunday Group papers.
The Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald Sun is Australia’s most widely read newspaper — strong on sports and geared to the average Australian. While the paper’s politics may veer toward the conservative, its entertainment coverage sticks to straight celebrity and film reporting.
And in Australia, where local films constitute only 3% of overall box office even in a good year, Hollywood films are of paramount importance. “They’re very interested in the Australian community in Hollywood,” says Masterson.
“Whether it’s Nicole Kidman, Toni Collette or Heath Ledger — interest in them is very high.” Masterson often writes for the Inside Entertainment section, and covers upcoming film releases, celebrities from Pamela Anderson to Mickey Rourke and everything else that comes out of Hollywood. “The access the HFPA provides is just priceless,” he says.
Journalist: Elisa Leonelli
Publication: Cinemania, Spain
Spain’s film magazine Cinemania is a glossy monthly comparable to Premiere.
The 10-year old pub for enthusiasts of classic, cult and current films runs in-depth coverage of Spanish and international films, with Hollywood pics playing a key role. For the most part, Leonelli writes career profiles and features on upcoming films, such as her recent story on “Memoirs of a Geisha.”
She’s been an HFPA member since 1979, writing extensively for Italian women’s magazines Marie Claire and Donna Moderna, as well as other European film and women’s pubs.
Leonelli, who moved to America in the 1970s, sees value in reporting Hollywood film news back to Spain. “It’s the only way of communication between different countries — the common language is big Hollywood movies.”
Despite the increasing influence of the foreign box office, Leonelli thinks Hollywood correspondents have worse access now, since there are so many people doing celebrity journalism.
Journalist: John Hiscock
Publication: Daily Telegraph, London
The Daily Telegraph is Britain’s last remaining broadsheet. Until recently, its readers were older, affluent retirees who were preoccupied by their gardens and country properties, but the paper has recently changed its focus to target younger readers.
Consequently, the 150-year old daily is running more entertainment coverage, including the Film on Friday section.
Hiscock started in journalism as a foreign correspondent covering wars and earthquakes. In 1985, he was sent to Hollywood by Australia’s Sun newspaper. “It’s a very different field of journalism, but one I think I was ready for,” he says. “I had my share of jumping on planes — I was ready for a more sedate life.”
Hiscock says the Telegraph’s film coverage is on a par with the well-respected Times of London, and it aims at a similar upmarket audience. “The Telegraph doesn’t go in for gossip,” he says, “(it likes its) stories to be well written and descriptive with plenty of color and background.”
The Telegraph also commissions more interviews with directors than other papers, but the bulk of Hiscock’s work is interviews with stars — he recently talked with Steve Martin at the Toronto Film Festival about “Shopgirl,” for example.
Readers are particularly interested in stars who are British or live in Britain, such as Keira Knightley and Gwyneth Paltrow. Hiscock also occasionally supplies television stories and film reviews. “I don’t know how I would do it without the HFPA,” he says.
Journalist: Noemia Young
Publication: 7 Jours, Quebec, Canada
Canada’s large French-language magazine, 7 Jours has a strong entertainment focus as well as articles on cooking, fashion and beauty.
Young does Q&As with actors in the magazine’s international section. She’s been a member of the HFPA since the early 1970s, when she started working for Quebec’s TV Hebdo magazine.
Young moved to Canada from Portugal as a youngster, and was impressed by her first look at TV and movies, which were rare in Portugal at the time. She moved to Hollywood in 1968 and got a job in publicity at Universal, where she met the editor of the Canadian TV magazine and started her showbiz writing career.
“I was hooked from the first interview I did,” says Young. “The HFPA helps tremendously.”
Readers of 7 Jours are women and teenagers in search of basic celebrity news, Young says. Her recent interviews include thesps Jake Gyllenhaal, Jennifer Aniston and Scarlett Johansson.
Journalist: Yoko Narita
Publication: Kinema Jumpo, Japan
Founded in 1919, Japan’s bimonthly film journal Kinema Jumpo is the country’s oldest and most respected film pub.
Its readers are knowledgeable film connoisseurs who like European art pics as much as Hollywood blockbusters.
“It’s a movie buff magazine, there’s not much advertising,” says Narita, who has a regular column that catches up with American actors like John Malkovich.
Narita says she is known among HFPA members for her wacky questions to stars and her close attention to describing the actors’ behavior and expressions in her stories. She came to Hollywood in 1978 as a sports writer for a Japanese newspaper, which soon asked her to start covering entertainment, as well.
“I was a very big movie fan, and I was knowledgeable about old movies,” she says. Narita thinks her interviews are more candid than those done in Japan, since the reporters on the home turf tend to be more reserved in their inteview style.