Variety Threatens to Not Run News They Aren't Covering, or Something

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Death-throe dementia can take on troubling forms, and nowhere is that more so the case than with mortally wounded trade publication Variety, who've responded to their dire diagnosis of ad-sales anemia and severe staff-hemorrhaging with a bizarre cocktail of paywalls and payola. But things appear to have taken a turn for the worse.

The Big Picture reports editor Tim Gray has instituted a new policy, instructing his reporters to threaten any studio publicist who fails to leak their big scoops to The Green Lady first -- and instead spill the news to one of the online competitors -- with (and we hope you're sitting down) ... ONLY RUNNING THE NEWS ON THE VARIETY WEBSITE. Approached for comment, Gray explained this wasn't just the case of a century-old trade publication, softened by a spoon-fed diet of steady scoops, merely throwing a hissy fit over a new generation of online competition that's forcing them to work harder. (Except it's exactly that.)

Gray insists that it's not a knee-jerk reaction "to someone getting some news two minutes before we do and us throwing a hissy fit. It's [being done] in instances where it was obvious that the story had been fed to an outlet before everyone got it."

Say whaaaa? By "everyone," does that refer to everyone at Variety? Or is breaking news now the equivalent of equitable kindergarten Oreo-distribution? It will be interesting to see if this helps their cause, or if the Daily Variety hard edition will now find itself whittled down to three slim pages of Celebrity Sudoku puzzles, the heart-smart recipes of Peter Bart's Kitchen, and a Notes n' Things section where Reviews once stood, left conveniently blank for readers to jot down passing thoughts or doodles.

· Variety to studios: Stop giving scoops to the competition! [Variety]



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