The online re-design of the Hollywood Reporter, which went up three days ago, has resulted in something that doesn’t have much of a pulse. It’s hard to put your finger on it exactly, but somewhere on high the ghost of Billy Wilkerson is scrunching his face and going, “Whaaat?” A Hollywood trade paper needs to throw in some hot licks and boogie it up some — it can’t be too corporate-looking or it won’t look like a Hollywood trade paper. Honestly, this new thing could be a website for some Midwest furniture manufacturer or ice-cream distributor. The recent Variety re-design was agreeable, but this one isn’t — it needs to say “film capital of fthe world” and it doesn’t.
One of my all-time favorite Charles Bukowski lines is about how if you live in this town long enough “the stink of L.A. gets into your bones.” That’s what the new Reporter design lacks — the aroma of particular history. The entire world has been molded by the culture that arose out of the L.A. entertainment industry (however lacking or unwelcome this may seem to some). Hollywood has always been fueled by primal appetites and crazy dreams and schemes, but you’d never know it by looking at this.