Shelby Hodge, The Chronicle's Tireless Champion Of Rich Nitwits, Has Left The Building

For years, whenever you've felt the need to read about self-important River Oaks types heading to Vail or Taos or France, you turned to the Houston Chronicle's Shelby Hodge. We can only hope for your sake that the need didn't arise too often, but when it did she was always there.

If there was some outrageously "elegant" ball to help the beleaguered opera, she was there. If rich people threw a party to honor rich people, she got the details. If there was wacky fun to be had from a ball with a motorcycle theme, she relayed the laffs.

If there was any dirt that occurred at any of these events, and gossip that might pass as even halfway-interesting, it was safe with Hodge. There was never a bit of information that wasn't safely scrubbed and approved by the people she chronicled.

Alas, she will be chronicling them no more. At least, not at the Chronicle.

Hodge is headed to something (hilariously) called a "mapazine."

Culturemap.com says it will be -- well, let's allow them to describe it, since the jargon is a little thick for us:

CultureMap consists of a top-notch team of highly experienced editors, photo editors, writers, and insiders who have in-depth expertise on each local market and all that it offers, providing thought-provoking insights and opinions about the arts, fashion, music, events, society, and much, much more. By blending the highest-quality content via experts-in-the-field with on-demand, proprietary web technology, CultureMap is rewiring the book on how information is distributed in the 21st Century.

It sounds to us like the stories will have links to maps, but what do we know?

Also joining the effort will be Clifford Pugh, who got laid off at the Chron earlier this year and went to the Examiner chain of suburban newspapers.

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