It seems some Mobile journalists are playing an even larger role in a just-launched web publication headed by national conservative commentator Laura Ingraham.
As we wrote two weeks ago, former Press-Register reporter Brendan Kirby has joined the publication, called LifeZette, as a senior political reporter. Locally based political writer Quin Hillyer has announced he will be serving as LifeZette’s political editor.
“I am, at least for the time being, the political editor for LifeZette,” Hillyer said.
Hillyer explained the publication — which went live Tuesday — was co-founded by Ingraham and her business partner, Peter Anthony, with the goal of providing a “full-spectrum” look at life, focusing on areas like health, pop culture, child rearing and faith in addition to politics. He says that although Ingraham is known as a conservative commentator, the publication will handle news in an unbiased fashion.
“While Laura is conservative and we will have conservative columnists, most of the political section will be straight news. That’s why we were looking for good, straight-news reporters like Brendan [Kirby],” Hillyer explained. “I’m known as a conservative columnist, but I’m extremely devoted to the idea that what we call ‘straight news’ is played straight. It’s just journalistic ethics. If you call something news, it should be news.”
He said the effort is not to push an ideological bent and not to get into the usual “inside the Beltway” politics that dominate most print and digital publications, but to serve a more explanatory purpose. Thus LifeZette’s tagline, “Life. Explained.”
“We’re not approaching this with an ideological component. The idea is to reach out beyond the patter-obsessed conservative base with news that is useful to them,” Hillyer said.
“We’re not going to be chasing down what bill passed committee and who just went up in the polls,” he added.
Hillyer said the site will feature only content generated by staff members or writers contracted by LifeZette. In other words, no wire copy. He added that it is well financed to make the run as a startup publication in a world that isn’t always so friendly to new endeavors. Though he did not know Ingraham, he said he was recommended for the job by mutual friends.
Hillyer is quite familiar with the D.C. political and journalistic scene, having been an editorial writer and columnist for the Washington Times and the Washington Examiner, and was executive editor of the American Spectator. For five years he also served as press secretary for U.S. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston, a Republican from New Orleans.
Hillyer has worked as an editorial writer with the Press-Register, was managing editor of Gambit Weekly in New Orleans and also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Review and Weekly Standard, among others, and he’s also a regular contributor to local and national radio and TV shows. He has also made one unsuccessful bid for Congress.
Attempting to wrangle his staff and cover national politics from the more leisurely environment of the Azalea City is one of the big hurdles Hillyer says he will have to overcome as LifeZette’s political editor.
“Obviously I’m in Mobile now. I’m still doing a test run to see if the editing can be done from down here. Obviously I’m not moving to D.C. A lot can be overcome with modern communications, but we’ll have to see,” he said.
Hillyer says he’s been a bit staggered by everything that goes into getting a new publication up and running, but is excited by the challenge. He was also happy to bring Kirby along for the ride.
“I was delighted to be able to get Brendan on board,” he said.
Hatch coming for book signing
Former WPMI reporter Chris Hatch is returning to the Port City this weekend, but this time he’s not chasing stories, he’s signing his newly published book.
Hatch, a Mobile native who worked with the local NBC affiliate and followed that up with a stint in the city’s Office of Special Events, will be at the Mobile Museum of Art at 4850 Museum Drive June 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. signing copies of his fiction novel, “Hurricane Ron.”
The book is set in the fictional town of Pelican, Alabama, which Hatch says may bear characteristics familiar to local readers. It follows investigative reporter Ron McKee as he runs up against a crooked sheriff, a criminal biker gang and his wife’s lover.
Hatch is a decorated military veteran and a graduate of the University of South Alabama. He presently operates his own public relations business near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Admission to the signing is free.