Yet another news site coming to WeHo

September 17, 2012

Updated: In a passage about his resume, we incorrectly stated the number of years in which Henry Scott held one of his two positions at the New York Times as three instead of four. We regret the error.

According to recent announcements on a variety of web sites, there is a new news web site coming to West Hollywood.

Called WeHoville, the site claims to be “the definitive source of news and information about the people and life of California's most creative city.”

The creators of the site hope to launch in late September.

Photo of woman singing by WeHo News.

The site says its mission is “to foster an informed and engaged community in West Hollywood, a city we love for its style, its culture, its diversity, and its wackiness.”

The person behind the site, Henry Scott, is brand new to the city, having moved to West Hollywood from the East coast in October, 2011.

Shortly upon arriving in the Creative City, in January of 2012, he made an offer to buy one-half of WeHo News.

According to publisher Ryan Gierach, a firm verbal agreement to recapitalize WeHo News fell through in May when Mr. Scott told him that a) he would not consider investing in a web-based news source, preferring to remain in print media, b) his own projects prevented him from committing sufficient time and energy to publishing a media outlet c) that WeHo News’ reporting failed to meet his own editorial standards and d) if he were to take on WeHo News, he would not only want a majority position, he would push founding publisher and editor Mr. Gierach out to take a 100 percent ownership position while "possibly" offering him employment as an editor.

All of the new hires hail from LA, for Mr. Scott has hired exclusively outsiders to write the stories of the "city we love."

Pasadena resident Dan Watson, who has in the past worked for the LA Times and Neon Tommy, has been hired to function as the publication’s executive editor.

According to sources, freelancer and Echo Park resident Hillel Aron will provide freelance editorial services.

An announcement on the firm’s Facebook page yesterday said that Los Angelino Daniela Ruelas will be the company’s first Director of Marketing and Advertising.

According to his resume, Mr. Scott has a past in media, mostly consulting, that spans over 20 years.

Dan Watson, of Pasadena, will edit the new WeHo publication. From Mr. Watson's Facebook page.

According to LinkedIn, he has for four years been, “managing director of the interMediator group, a consortium of media professionals who provide services including strategy, product development, sales training, interim and turnaround management, strategic communications, and executive recruiting. Scott also is CEO of Gansevoort Target Media, which prepares special reports for its sponsor clients for distribution through various media.”

He has held a seven or eight positions of employment in media over the past 18 years – none of them for longer than five years (excluding investment and onwrship stakes).

Mr. Scott's average time in a position of employment was a little over 2.5 years.

His first media job on his resume was with the Hartford Courant and lasted two years; he then went to work for the New York Times, where his jobs lasted three (our error) four and then two years.

After that, he bounced around as publisher for a variety of monthlies and weeklies in addition to operating a pair of his own publishing/media houses.

One area of experience that he can bring to bear in WeHo that may give his venture a chance at success in West Hollywood is his ability to find financing.

From 2000 through 2009, Mr. Scott was an investor in and member of Plum Capital, a media venture fund, a history that ought to provide him access to ready capital to function while the site builds readership.

AOL's Patch experiment is failing, causing a re-thinking of the site and a withdrawal from news coverage in favor of listings and commercial directories.

WeHoville’s entry into the West Hollywood market comes as the future of AOL’s Patch West Hollywood hyper-local experiment grows cloudy due to low readership and even lower revenue streams.

According to Ad Age, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is rebuilding its hyper-local news network Patch, moving away from a reliance on hometown journalists creating news and pushing more into listings and commerce.

(Although they advertised for an editor after losing two in its two years of operation, the local Patch is currently operating without an editor.)

Ad Age writes, “In an interview after the earnings call, Mr. Armstrong expanded on these thoughts, saying that the new Patch, to be unveiled later this year, ‘is really about unlocking the vitality in towns…groups, commerce, and the social aspects of towns for a much deeper, richer engagement level.’”

Each of the 850-odd AOL Patch sites cost in excess of $150,000 to begin, with costs of over $100,000 to staff and operate.

 

That leaves WeHo News as Mr. Scott’s primary competition, with a seven year history as one of the first hyper-local comprehensive online newspapers to startup online in the state, if not the nation, in 2005.

Previous to WeHo News opening, only outsiders wrote a smattering of news stories about the Creative City in a couple of throw away newspapers.

After seven years of publication, WeHoNews.com, founded, published and edited by Ryan Gierach, the historian and author of West Hollywood’s only published history and journalist having focused on West Hollywood for 13 years, WeHo News has an average readership of 80,500 per month, one-sixth of those readers coming from outside the Unites States.

Virtually all of WeHo News' contributors reside or work in West Hollywood.

Those readers view an average of four pages per visit and spend an average of nearly five minutes on the site.