Second floor moves at Times

Phone lines are buzzing about an impending shakeup in the lineup of editors on the L.A. Times features desks, located downstairs from the main newsroom on Spring Street. There's talk of offsite meetings and angst in the room, as much (or more) about who might get promoted as who might get passed over by Deputy Managing Editor John Montorio. In what could be a beginning, some bodies did get moved around today, including the editor of the weekly Home section. Also, Style writer Mary McNamara gets a new beat they are calling "Hollywood life."

Two memos received this afternoon by L.A. Observed follow.


Building our new Home section has been one of the department's most gratifying successes. And now I am delighted to announce that, with a pair of appointments, we are about to begin an exciting expansion.

Since joining the paper as Home's founding editor, Barbara King has made an indispensable contribution. Along with Michalene Busico, she directed the section's spectacular launch and originated its Eye column, which is one of Home's signature features. Over the 18 months that followed, Barbara has guided the section and its staff into a weekly groove as one of our department's mainstays. But all along, Barbara never made any secret of the fact that her notion of the ideal job would be to write for a section exactly like the one she helped create.

Now, I am pleased to say, she is going to get her heart's desire. As Home's new senior writer, Barbara not only will continue to write Eye, but also assume a role as the paper's leading reportorial voice on home and design. In that capacity, she'll be producing columns, cover stories and Page 1 pieces that not only capture the field's news, trends and personalities, but also convey -- as only she can -- the intangible but powerful realities of living in L.A.

Barbara brings a genuinely original voice and a finely honed writerly sensibility to this new assignment. Her resume includes service as Architectural Digest's Senior Articles Editor, five years as Town and Country's senior editor and writer and numerous contributions to Harper's Bazaar and other national magazines. She was also a script editor and writer for PBS. Barbara even worked as the West Coast consultant to Phillips Auctioneers, appraising arts and antiques. Now our readers will have the opportunity to make her byline their regular signpost to the useful and beautiful.

It will require an editor of proven ability, sophistication and discernment to build on Home's foundation, and I'm extremely happy that we have found that person in Kelly Scott, who recently rejoined the department after a year's sabbatical as a Knight fellow at Stanford. As the paper's Home editor, Kelly will also direct the home and garden coverage in the magazine. Kelly, who will report to Michalene, will bring the section and the magazine's similar component into its next phase, refining the look and content of the report and keeping it fresh. She and Barbara will collaborate to further define and focus our coverage, providing an overall vision of how the paper should chronicle both the concrete and green sides of the Los Angeles experience.

Kelly long has been one of our department's standout editors. Prior to her fellowship she had a highly successful tenure as editor of Sunday Calendar, where she previously served as a deputy. Kelly has twice filled critical editing posts on the magazine and still is remembered by many for the contribution she made as movie editor. Prior to joining The Times, she worked as Newsday's entertainment news editor and as a reporter and editor at the St. Petersburg Times.

Please join me in congratulating Kelly and Barbara on their new assignments. Like me, I'm sure you're eager to see what this makeover will produce. We'll all get the chance to find out later this month, when these changes take effect.

-- John Montorio, Deputy Managing Editor

September 13, 2004

And this one:

Please welcome Rene Lynch, who moves to the 2nd floor today as an entertainment editor in Calendar after a two-year engagement on the business section's Hollywood team.

If you don't know Rene, you're in for a treat: she's a skilled and creative journalist who brings flair, intelligence and a strong collaborative spirit to all her assignments. She's also versatile, having previously distinguished herself as a reporter and editor in a variety of posts at The Times -- including stints in Orange County and Sports before she went to Biz.

Rene will be working primarily with Betsy and the movie reporters on film stories, but also will be an important player in our coverage of television and the culture of Hollywood.

Speaking of which...

Style writer Mary McNamara has agreed to turn her considerable talents in a new direction, pioneering a beat we're calling Hollywood life to chronicle the social side effects and interesting players -- below-the-line, above-the-line, outside the lines -- of the entertainment industry.

Mary has performed brilliantly as an editor, reporter and columnist in a variety of assignments at The Times -- including a sparkling turn as an entertainment editor last Oscar season -- and we're thrilled to have her back as a reporter, deploying her gently skewering wit and fine writing in such a deserving cause.

-- Lennie LaGuire, Entertainment Editor,

Betsy Sharkey, Deputy Entertainment Editor

September 13, 2004

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