Top Quality Reporting, Curation, and Commentary Aims to Change the Face of Industry News
HOLLYWOOD, CA, (Jan. 26) – TheWrap.Com, a bold and independent new voice covering the business of entertainment and media, debuts on January 26, 2009.
Founded by award-winning journalist Sharon Waxman, the former Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times, TheWrap.Com will feature authoritative original reporting, curated news from around the globe, and exclusive contributions from insiders in the entertainment industry.
“Our aim is to create the premiere news and information site about the business of Hollywood for the digital age,” said Waxman. “TheWrap.Com is for anyone who is interested in understanding the changes on going on in entertainment and media culture, and navigating a global industry. We believe these exciting times demand a new perspective on covering the industry, one that embraces the interactivity of the web.”
She added: “We intend to become the most interesting and relevant conversation about these changes, featuring not only the best reporters in this space, but the voices of the incredibly talented community that we’re covering.”
Among those contributing to TheWrap.Com are Kim Masters, formerly of Vanity Fair and National Public Radio; Andrew Gumbel, a longtime foreign correspondent for British newspapers and noted author; Nicole LaPorte, a former film reporter for Variety who has just completed a book about DreamWorks; Mark Lisanti, former editor of Defamer;  Johanna Neuman, who has covered Washington for The Los Angeles Times and USA Today; and Peter Mehlman, a former co-executive producer of Seinfeld and leading television writer and producer.
The top editors are Tim Doyle, formerly of Variety; and Maria Russo, recently of The Los Angeles Times.  Kevin Davis, the former COO of Hollywood.Com, has joined the team as interim COO to lead business development.
TheWrap.Com is a startup backed by Maveron, a venture capital firm based in Seattle, Washington and co-founded by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and Dan Levitan. Other investors include private individuals independent of the entertainment industry.
Levitan said, “We believe that TheWrap.Com is an exciting new business model for information in the age of the Web.  There is a real need for superior journalism about the entertainment world that breaks news at the speed of the Internet, and also offers interaction between industry leaders and others.  Sharon Waxman has the vision and talent to create a top news site, and we’re impressed by the team she’s assembled.  This is an exciting opportunity for us, for advertisers, and for everyone who is interested in the business of entertainment.”
TheWrap.Com will be supported by display advertising and sponsorships and syndication, and is proud to launch with anchor sponsors British Airways and Four Seasons Hotel, Beverly Hills.
TheWrap.Com’s features and functions will include:
* top reporting in real time from some of the most experienced and authoritiative writers in the entertainment space.
* community tools for users to rate and rank stories, contribute content, and interact with one another.
* cross-promotion with media partners, including The Daily Beast, The TakeAway on WNYC.
* user profiles that allow social-network-style creation of groups that can interact among themselves.
* weekly features such as: hard-hitting interviews with entertainment industry power brokers at “The Grill” and weekly tales from the trenches in a feature called “Hard Knocks Hollywood.”
Users can sign up to receive First Take, a free daily email digest of news culled from a variety of national and international news outlets and available on TheWrap.Com. First Take launched in November, and is already widely read within the industry.
TheWrap.Com welcomes guest blogs about issues of the day; interested contributors can contact an editor by clicking on “Tell Us Something”  in the upper right hand corner of the homepage.Said Waxman, “The changing face of media presents many challenges to journalists, newsmakers and readers, but we think that TheWrap.Com offers a new model that serves the interests of all of these groups, as well as advertisers and corporate partners.  We are thrilled to enter into this innovative dialogue and hope that we’ll set a new standard in reporting and commenting on the business of entertainment.”