Michael Kinsley, the former editor of the New Republic, Harpers and Slate, is joining the L.A. Times as editor of the editorial and opinion pages. Janet Clayton, who has run the editorial pages, is returning to the newsroom as the editor in charge of state and local coverage. Miriam Pawel, the current honcho for local news, is being reassigned.
*Update: Times people are also gossiping about a succession plan that would have Editor John Carroll, who is in his early sixties, stepping down before too long. With the LAT's five Pulitzers this year, and previous high-level editor changes, he has accomplished much of his agenda of fixing the troubled paper he inherited in 2000. The most talked-about scenario is that Managing Editor Dean Baquet would be elevated to editor in chief. A name being floated as his possible managing editor is Doug Frantz, a longtime friend and former colleague of Baquet's at the New York Times. The talk was fueled by Baquet's recent trip to Turkey to visit with Frantz, who is based in Istanbul for the LAT...Also, prior to today's news, Time's L.A. bureau was said to be working on a piece about the resurgent LAT.
**Absentee editor?: Kinsley's farewell email to the staff of Slate said he will split his time between Los Angeles and Seattle, where he now lives. (MSNBC)
Today's internal LAT memo from Carroll and Baquet announcing the changes follows:
To: The Staff From: John Carroll and Dean Baquet
Effective June 14, the following reassignments will take place among key editors:
Michael Kinsley will join us as editorial and opinion editor; Janet Clayton, currently editor of the editorial pages, will return to the newsroom as assistant managing editor for state and local news; and Miriam Pawel, currently assistant managing editor for state and local news, will move to another assignment to be announced later.
As many of you know, Mike is a writer of wit and insight, a clear thinker on public policy and an innovative editor known for spotting and developing talent. He has served as editor of the New Republic and Harper's, and he was the founding editor of Slate. For six years, he was co-host of CNN's "Crossfire." He has written regular columns for the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, and the Times of London. His writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Conde Nast Traveler and Vanity Fair. He has done academic work at Harvard College, Oxford University and Harvard Law School. Currently he is writing columns for Slate, the Washington Post and Time.
Janet has had a long and successful career at the Los Angeles Times, serving as editor of the editorial pages since 1995. In two of the last three years, members of her department have won Pulitzer Prizes. In her new job, Janet will oversee the largest single staff in the newsroom.
Janet is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Southern California. After graduation, she studied at Cambridge. She began her career with the Times in the Washington Bureau and served as a reporter in Orange County and in Metro, covering politics as deputy city/county bureau chief in Los Angeles before moving to the op-ed page as an articles editor. She became an editorial writer, then assistant editorial page editor, and finally editor of the editorial pages.
Miriam joined the paper in 2000, and under her direction the staff that covers local, regional and state news has been extensively reorganized. The many improvements in coverage under her leadership include the introduction of the California section in spring of 2001. Recently her staff was awarded the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for spot news coverage in recognition of its aggressive and comprehensive coverage of the 2003 fires across Southern California.
These changes represent our on going effort to improve the newspaper, to give every part of the paper a thoughtful reconsideration from time to time and to expose key editors to a variety of assignments.