New Editor Janice Min Grilled: No Lindsay Lohan in Revamped THR

“The opportunity is to help set the news agenda for the industry instead of covering picky details”

Janice Min, the former editor Us Weekly, was named the new editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. Min, known for growing Us Weekly into a leading celebrity scandal sheet, has the task of rebuilding the trade’s declining brand, turning around falling circulation and giving the title some sex appeal. She agreed to be grilled by Sharon Waxman.

Why were you interested in this job?
It seems like especially in this age, where media is so negative about other media, that this was an incredible opportunity to really transform something that was highly transformable. The opportunity to take this storied brand and bring it into the modern age in the most powerful way possible seemed like something where the potential was limitless.

Tell us more.
I also feel like in no small part thanks to you and that other person (Nikki Finke), there’s definitely a reinvigorated interest in this area that was considered pretty moribund. There’s a lot of opportunity and momentum in the Hollywood Reporter.

Have you ever been reader of THR?
I was a reader on a need-to-know basis. But it’s definitely not a title that was falling on my desk every morning. 

What do you think of the product right now?
I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. It does a solid job of covering the bread and butter of "This person moving there," "This release date pushed back." I think the opportunity with THR is to help set the news agenda for the industry instead of covering picky little details. I think you can capitalize on its history to have a powerful influential platform and voice.

Hollywood is a pretty clubby place, and you’ve not been a trade editor before. Does that concern you?
I fell into that whole world of celebrity media by accident. It wasn’t something I sought out. It’s where my career took me. I strongly believe that as editor, your skills are about recognizing good stories, recognizing opportunity, managing your beat. So I feel 100 percent confident about doing that with Hollywood versus the personalities Hollywood produces.

Do you plan to shift coverage to a more consumer-oriented read?
No. The key audience is still the industry influencers. I would like THR to reach a broader audience of business influencers. When you think who is reading the industry trade you’re thinking of people in executive or creative roles. We live in very different era, where what goes on in Hollywood is impactful to lots of other industries –  media, fashion, style.

Can we expect to see more Lindsay Lohan? 
I will leave the Lindsay Lohan drama to Us Weekly.  If I had wanted to continue to do that I would have done it at Us Weekly.

There’s been a lot of anxiety and speculation in the Reporter newsroom.  Are you planning to keep Elizabeth Guider?
Yes. I just walked out of very pleasant meeting. I met Elizabeth and two other staffers who came to New York. It seemed to be a very productive meeting. I think they’re excited to have a direction. It’s incredibly demoralizing to have everything be cut away and frittered away. They seemed to be excited by opportunity, and the staff will grow.

Why will the staff grow? We’re 15 people, and we pretty much match the daily coverage in the trades.
We need to expand the website. That’s the first item that’s going to get tackled. For a print daily, you can’t do that running on fumes. If you’re broadening the appeal beyond the boilerplate – this-person-went-there coverage, you also do need a certain level of mental freedom to be thinking larger picture.

To some degree having more content is dependent on ad pages, and they haven’t been there.
You’ve seen the hires on business side. I’m going to guess that’s not going to be a problem for much longer.

Will they lean to the consumer side?
They want to reach influential audience as well. If you’re any kind of consumer advertiser trying to get immediate heat on whatever trying to sell, you want to tap into audience in right way.

I hear you’re bringing in your own team?
There are a lot of positions open at the Hollywood Reporter still. I’ll be making my own hires as well.

See also: Janice Min Named Editorial Director at Hollywood Reporter