The new unit utilizes reporters across Tribune, producing frequently updated blogs and multimedia news on more than 60 TV shows. The bureau's first editorial project: a behind-the-scenes look at "American Idol." The bureau will be located in Los Angeles; the Zap2it portal will aggregate all news from Trib writers and entertainment bloggers.
The new bureau will service a combined online audience of about 9 million unique visitors viewing 65 million pages a month across Tribune's online offerings. (The Los Angeles Times has a combined print and interactive local weekly audience of 5.5 million. Zap2it.com claims more than 4 million TV and movie fans.)
While touting the talent and access of the LAT, Marc Chase, Tribune Interactive president, applauded the company-wide effort: "This bureau will work with reporting and producing teams at all our newspapers and TV stations to bring our audiences the most complete, behind-the-scenes entertainment report on the Web."
Richard Rushfield and Joseph Kapsch will lead the effort.
Rushfield is director/national entertainment programming for "The Syndicate," Tribune Interactive's new online marketplace. He will coordinate coverage among Tribune sites, in addition to duties as entertainment editor for latimes.com.
Kapsch is editorial director for Zap2it.com, overseeing a redesign of the portal. He will also remain executive producer/entertainment, latimes.com.
In addition to detailed TV and movie listings, Zap2it viewers will now get "a richer, more informative site," said Rebecca Baldwin, general manager of Zap2it.
Tribune's leading newspapers also include the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida) and Hartford Courant. The company's broadcasting group operates 23 television stations.