David Lamb, the dean of Los Angeles Times correspondents (now a Washington-based national correspondent), leads the list of veterans who have chosen to go in the current buyout wave. A past Nieman fellow and Alicia Patterson fellow, Lamb's books include The Africans, The Arabs, Vietnam Now: A Reporter Returns, Over the Hills: A Midlife Escape Across America by Bicycle and Stolen Season: A Journey Through America and Baseball's Minor Leagues.
Other voluntary buyouts include New York bureau reporter John Goldman and, in Features, popular culture writer Bob Baker (formerly labor writer, city editor and writing coach). The paper's longtime lead baseball writer, Ross Newhan, honored in 2000 by the sport's Hall of Fame, also has signed the papers but will remain on the national baseball beat at least through this season.
With regard to Lamb, National Editor Scott Kraft dispatched this announcement to national and foreign bureaus:
David Lamb, who epitomized the word "correspondent" at this newspaper for 32 years, has decided to take the buyout. I would say he's taking early retirement, but those who know David know that would be a lie. He plans to continue to write and to travel. He may even have another book or two in him.
I'm happy for David, but I'm sad for us. His departure later this month will be a loss for the paper and for readers of daily journalism, what those old house ads for the LA Times used to call "a special kind of journalism." Thankfully, David's byline won't disappear from magazines, and it might even still appear from time to time in the LA Times.
David's career with us began in 1970, on the Metro staff. It included stints on the national staff in New York and on the foreign staff in Sydney, Nairobi, Cairo and Hanoi. He returned to Washington a couple of years ago. He's written books on subjects as varied as Vietnam and minor league baseball. He's been an Alicia Patterson and Nieman fellow. Not bad for a guy who got his first job in journalism at the Okinawa Morning Star.
But those are just jobs. What those of us who are current or former foreign and national correspondents remember best is that David was the gold standard--a talented reporter and writer but also a valued and generous colleague who was the best friend to have in a war zone and the best company at dinner in a three-star restaurant (back when those were allowed on the expense account). He's a class act and I'll miss him.
Please join me in wishing David and Sandy all the best.