No offence to any of the other fine people out there covering the music beat, but for our money Jeff Leeds is the best in the business. Which is why it was so disheartening to see him bounced out of the NYT during its most recent round of layoffs/buyouts in May.
“I’m profoundly excited about the possibilities emerging ahead, both in and out of good ol’ dead-tree journalism,” he told associates at the time, via a mass e-mail. So here’s what that possibility turned into: A gig heading up editorial at Buzznet, the weird rollup of music and other pop culture sites that we can’t quite figure out. But we think Jeff has a good a shot as anyone at making it work. Here’s the full press release:
BUZZNET HIRES FORMER NEW YORK TIMES JOURNALIST AS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF; APPOINTS NEW SENIOR EDITOR FROM ALTERNATIVE PRESS MAGAZINE
Top Newspaper Music Reporter Jeff Leeds to Expand and Oversee Editorial Content for
Leading Online Music Community
HOLLYWOOD, CA – October 1, 2008 Buzznet (www.buzznet.com), the Web’s leading social media community for music, announced today that it is expanding its music editorial team with the hiring of Jeff Leeds, former New York Times music reporter, as its new Editor-in-Chief. In addition, former Alternative Press magazine Managing Editor Leslie Simon has joined the company as Senior Editor.
In this newly created position, Leeds will spearhead an expansion of editorial offerings on Buzznet.com that will combine the best original news, commentary, photos and other contributions from staff writers and the site’s millions of community members with additional programming, including exclusive MP3 releases, videos and in-studio performances. Leeds will direct editorial strategy at Buzznet.com, and manage editors at the company’s partner sites, Stereogum, Absolute Punk, Idolator, Vampire Freaks, FOE and The Gauntlet. Leeds will report to General Manager Scott Boyd.
Simon, managing editor and star writer for leading pop-punk/emo magazine Alternative Press and co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide to Emo Culture, will work directly with Leeds to oversee and edit the day-to-day editorial for Buzznet.com as well as manage the site’s staff of in-house and freelance writers, photographers and videographers.
“We looked at many candidates for the editor-in-chief position and Jeff’s wealth of music and journalism experience, and knowledge of social programming and the fast-changing media landscape made him by far the best fit,” said Boyd. “Leslie’s passion and expertise in emo music and culture, coupled with her strong writing and management skills are a perfect match for Buzznet.com. Both are joining us at a very important and exciting time, as we gear up to expand our editorial coverage and unveil new content features that are sure to resonate with our music community, as well as anyone with an interest in music.”
“Buzznet is ahead of the game in grasping the transformative role of social media,” said Leeds. “It’s hard not to be thrilled by the possibilities that arise when you blend the best practices of traditional reporting and criticism with the profound passion and genuine talent of Buzznet’s army of fans. I am looking forward to working with the entrepreneurs and sterling writers at all of Buzznet’s properties.”
Leeds brings more than 12 years of journalism experience to his role at Buzznet. At The New York Times he covered the business and culture of music, chronicling the radical shifts of the industry as well as the events shaping the careers of stars from Britney Spears to Guns N’ Roses. Leeds also spent time exploring journalism’s evolution into a digital enterprise and regularly produced segments for the Times’ weekly music podcast. In 2007, he shared in a Times award for a Web video/blog package tied to the SXSW music festival, which he co-produced. He has also appeared as a commentator on KCRW, WNYC and other outlets. Prior to joining the Times in 2004, Leeds spent nine years at the Los Angeles Times, where he covered the music business, in addition to politics, aerospace, white-collar crime and other beats.
Simon began at Alternative Press magazine in 2001 and quickly rose through ranks culminating as managing editor. She is also the co-author of Everybody Hurts: An Essential Guide To Emo Culture, which was released in 2007 through Harper Collins, and is eagerly anticipating the release of her follow-up, Wish You Were Here: An Essential Guide To Your favourite Music Scenes—From Punk To Indie To Everything In Between, this April also through HarperCollins. In addition to making appearances on Fuse and MTV, her work has appeared in Stuff, E! Online, Kerrang! and Teen People.
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