Newsweek's Los Angeles bureau chief David Jefferson went through the interviews, negotiated over salary and start date, and accepted the high-level job of Associate Editor of the L.A. Times Editorial Pages. It put him number two to Janet Clayton, Editor of the Editorial Pages.
On Monday this week he reported for work on the second floor at First and Spring streets. On Tuesday, he quit and returned to his old job at Newsweek (officially, West Coast editor).
An email from Clayton to the editorial pages staff said Jefferson apologized but felt he had made a mistake taking the job. She quipped: "Britney's marriage lasted longer." So too did Rick Bragg's brief dance with the LAT in the early 1990s -- he stayed a few weeks then refunded his moving expenses and jumped to the New York Times. For Jefferson's sake, let's hope he doesn't regret his cold feet the next time he's chasing wildfires or filing 3,000 words of notes on wacky California (or Britney Spears) for some insatiable writer or editor in New York.
Jefferson tells L.A. Observed: "Everybody there was perfectly wonderful. It just came down to a personal decision...a change of heart. I apologize to those folks."
Edit 5:25 p.m.: Apparently there is no Plan B for the spot, vacant since Bob Sipchen moved over to edit the new Outdoors section. It was open for quite awhile before Sipchen as well. Steven Holmes of the New York Times Washington bureau had hot discussions with the LAT more than two years ago but chose not to relocate. The paper began wooing Jefferson almost that long ago, sources say. Recruiting has been a struggle, apparently: see Rosenberg was hard to replace.