Award-winning journalist Jim Rainey, who spent most of the last 30 years working as a reporter, editor, columnist and blogger for the Los Angeles Times, has joined Variety as a Senior Film Reporter.
Rainey will cover the major Hollywood studios and all aspects of the movie business, writing breaking stories, analytical features and profiles for Variety.com and the weekly magazine. He will also contribute to Variety’s conferences, panel discussions and video interviews as well as appear on major TV and radio news outlets to discuss industry issues.
Based in Los Angeles, Rainey will report to Claudia Eller, co-editor-in-chief, and work closely with Variety’s team of reporters in L.A., New York and around the globe. He will begin at Variety on January 19.
“I worked alongside Jim when I was at the L.A. Times and have always considered him one of the best and brightest journalists in the world,” says Eller. “He’s a dogged and fearless investigative reporter who loves to dig deep and uncover truths. As someone who thrives on deadline, Rainey wrote with verve about media, politics, culture, municipal government, the environment and urban affairs. He’ll now be able to apply all of his skills, passion and effectiveness to covering Hollywood.”
In his coverage of the meltdown of Donald Sterling, Rainey was the first to report details of the formal NBA charges against the former Clippers owner, Shelly Sterling’s campaign to hang on to the team, the secret bidding for the Clippers and the record-setting offer by former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer. After Balmer bought the Clippers, Rainey traveled to Bellevue, Washington to write the most intimate profile of the team’s new owner.
As a political reporter, Rainey covered the 2012, ’08 and ’04 Presidential campaigns, focusing on candidates including Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Mike Huckabee. In 2012, he was the lead blogger and commentator on the Times Politics Now blog. He has chronicled every L.A. Mayor from Tom Bradley to Eric Garcetti.
Rainey spent a month in Iraq in 2006, reporting on the media, U.S. military and the formation of the Maliki government; covered the 1992 riots, the ’94 Northridge quake, Heaven’s Gate mass suicide and the O.J. Simpson murder case.
He won awards for his writing about emotionally disturbed children, Native Americans and prisoner abuse. He also wrote a twice-weekly “On The Media” column for the publication and “The Big Picture” blog, writing pieces on business trends, content critiques and social commentary on television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the Internet.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Variety, the most venerable name in entertainment journalism,” said Rainey. “Under the leadership of Claudia Eller and Andy Wallenstein, I’ve watched this always dependable brand being re-energized with sharpened news reporting, deeper analysis and knowing features. I can’t wait to get started.”
A native of Malibu and no stranger to show business, Rainey added, “Covering the film industry feels like a homecoming to me. My father, Ford Rainey, spent more than 70 years in the business, as a character actor, portraying everyone from King Lear to Steve McQueen’s nemesis in ‘The Sand Pebbles,’ to Lindsay Wagner’s guardian in ‘The Bionic Woman’ and Jerry Stiller’s pal on ‘The King of Queens.'”