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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Ebert Digital Names Award-Winning Journalist as Interim COO

Former President of Time Out Chicago to build on momentum of expanded RogerEbert.com

CHICAGO, September 16, 2013 – Opening the next scene in RogerEbert.com's expansion, Ebert Digital elevates Frank Sennett, an award-winning Chicago journalist and author, to the position of interim Chief Operating Officer.

Sennett, previously President and Editor-in-Chief of Time Out Chicago, is charged with building the reach and the revenue streams of the revamped RogerEbert.com.

Before the site's Pulitzer Prize-winning namesake died in April, he and his wife and co-founder, Chaz Ebert, initiated a redesign to add next-generation interactivity and voices to what already was a go-to source for film reviews and movie news. To assist in the rollout, Chaz invited Sennett to serve on Ebert Digital's Advisory Board.

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"From the moment Frank joined our board, he infused his love for film with sharp wit, layered on a bedrock of journalistic insight and business instinct," said Chaz Ebert, owner of Ebert Digital and Publisher of RogerEbert.com. "His track record as a leader speaks for itself."

Under Sennett's leadership, Time Out Chicago saw its first period of profitability, with ad revenue rising 18 percent and both paid print circulation and web traffic increasing in 2012. Timeoutchicago.com was named Chicago's No. 1 Arts, Culture & Entertainment Site of 2012 by Community Media Workshop. Before leaving Time Out Chicago last April, Sennett shepherded the sale of the publication to its minority partner on behalf of majority owner Joe Mansueto for twice what the Chicago Reader sold for a year earlier.

"I've always had a huge passion for film personally, and film has played a key role in publications I've been involved with professionally," said Sennett, who met Roger Ebert in the Lake Street screening room in the '90s and was struck by the world-renowned film critic's gracious demeanor. "It's a privilege now to work with Chaz to advance his legacy."

In addition to serving up a full slate of new film reviews every week under editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com boasts 46 years of Ebert's accumulated print and digital archives.

"That's an unmatched combination, and we look forward to forming strategic alliances to showcase additional quality content," Sennett said. "Movie lovers know they can always find intelligent conversations about film at RogerEbert.com."


Photo: Martha Williams


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