Trio to cover film beat, one for music

Variety has hired a music editor and film reporter, while boosting two other staffers to full-time film reporter roles.

Andrew Barker takes the lead for Variety’s music coverage, a role that is newly created to spearhead the news org’s increased coverage of the global music industry.

Rachel Abrams joins the film team as reporter, effective immediately, while Variety editorial staffers Justin Kroll and Andrew Stewart have been boosted, with Kroll focusing on agencies and film, and Stewart increasing his pic reporting as he continues to cover box office.

“These moves are part of Variety: The Next Generation,” said group editor Tim Gray. “It’s exciting to expand the staff and to acknowledge the work of these four, who have shown enthusiasm, intelligence and — perhaps most important in the fast-moving Web news environment — a respect for accuracy. As we were looking to hire reporters, we realized there was no need to hunt outside the org when the quartet had already proven their energy, talents and their understanding of what best serves the readers, particularly younger readers.”

These new moves reflect the strengthening of the newsroom, including last month’s promotions of four Variety vets to deputy editor status to oversee the Gotham and L.A. daily editions and weekly Variety (Daily Variety, Nov. 3).

Barker served for three years at Variety as a features editor before moving to freelance status two years ago to pursue a wider array of stories for the publication. But as the music coverage began expanding, everyone realized the need for someone to coordinate that coverage.

Abrams is a native of California and a New York U. grad who interned at Voice of America before joining Variety earlier this year.

Detroit-born Kroll started at Variety in 2008 and will continue to cover talent agencies and castings, as well as film reporting. He graduated Michigan State U., and then moved to Los Angeles, where he freelanced for Reuters.

Stewart also joined Variety in 2008. A native of Nebraska, he graduated from the U. of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a dual degree in news editorial and film studies. He will continue to cover box office, which he has been doing since January.

All of them will incorporate the effects of emerging technologies in their areas.

Another film reporter will soon be added, joining current film reporters Marc Graser, Pamela McClintock and Dave McNary to provide comprehensive coverage of major studios, indies, festivals, markets, technology and the impact of the international business.

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