Hofmeister to head Arts & Entertainment dept.

Taking a page from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times will implement the long-anticipated step of consolidating its entertainment/culture coverage, in this case under Business editor Sallie Hofmeister.

Hofmeister will become assistant managing editor of a new Arts & Entertainment department, uniting reporters from the Calendar and Business sections — as well as the paper’s website — under her leadership. Craig Turner, previously a news section editor, will become Arts & Entertainment editor beneath her.

The reorganization is designed to eradicate tensions that have long existed between Calendar and Business, which both devote staff to covering Hollywood but have frequently experienced a lack of coordination. In fact, those editors have historically often been in competition with one another, especially in regard to developing high-profile stories that could run on the paper’s front page.

As part of the move, the Times will reactivate the “Company Town” banner that was introduced, and subsequently abandoned, within the Business section. The feature will run weekdays beginning March 3.

A Times spokeswoman said there would not be any specific staff reductions in connection with the restructuring. The Tribune-owned newspaper is in the midst of another round of job cuts expected to reduce its staff to below 600 editorial employees, from a high of about 1,200 earlier this decade.

Cost-cutting measures at the Times include recently announced plans to make California a Sunday-only section, earmarked for state and local news.

The Times’ current editor, Russ Stanton, is also a former editor of the Business section. Hofmeister was named to her most recent position in May.

The New York Times implemented a similar change in September in order to focus its coverage, establishing a “media desk” under editor Bruce Headlam.

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