Bob Sipchen moved from the L.A. Times editorial page staff last year to shepherd the new Outdoors section into existence. Now he's returning to the fold as editor of the Sunday Opinion section, which features czar John Montorio hints is heading for a makeover. With the elevation of Sue Horton to an investigative job in Metro, and longtime Timeser Sipchen taking her place, you have to wonder if LA Weekly writers will lose their oddly high profile in the Sunday Opinion pages. Montorio's memo to the staff this afternoon appears after the jump, followed by Michael Kinsley's welcoming memo a half hour later:
From: Montorio, John
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 5:06 PM
To: Features Staff
Subject: He's back indoors
Okay, maybe you've wondered what a Founding Father does for a second act? If he's Bob Sipchen, he goes off and does it again. As much as we're all going to miss Bob, I know you'll join me in congratulating him on the terrific new opportunity he is taking up with Mike Kinsley as the new editor of Sunday Opinion, or whatever they're going to call it. Bob has been more than the founding editor of Outdoors; he's been its aesthetic architect and guiding muse. The launch he oversaw, which was just a year ago this week, is one of the most successful in anyone's memory, a model of freshness, clarity, intelligence and service. By the way, it also looks great. Obviously, Bob has established not just a section, but also a standard by which all his successors only can benefit. Along the way he has been a friend, a stimulating colleague and an inspiring example to many in our department.
It isn't easy to see him go, but -- like me -- I'm sure you are eager to see what his coming relaunch of Opinion will be like.
Then Kinsley, who becomes Sipchen's new boss:
Sent: Tuesday, September 07, 2004 5:33 PM
Subject: Bob Sipchen -- Editor, Sunday section now known as Opinion
I'm pleased and excited to announce that Bob Sipchen will be joining us--or rather, rejoining us--as Editor of the Sunday section currently known as Opinion.
I hesitate to gloat too much about what a fantastic development this is for Opinionland, only because Dean Baquet, John Montorio, and Bob himself have been so incredibly gracious about his departure from Outdoors, which Bob created from scratch and guided so successfully for the past year and a half.
But allow me to gloat a bit: this is a fantastic development for us. Bob is beloved by everybody in this department who worked with him here before he left to start Outdoors. (Or so they all say.) Ordinarily, this might make me suspicious. But long conversations with Bob, and the evidence of Outdoors, prove that he is a brilliant editor, imaginative and disciplined (a rare combination), tough but tender with writers and colleagues, and generally fun and exciting to be around and work with.
We have ambitious plans for the Sunday section. But this is not a startup. Sue Horton ran a superb Opinion section, with the help of Gary Spiecker, Dierdre Ware and Michael Soller. Gary will be running the section until Bob can extricate himself from all the flora and fauna.
Welcome (back) Bob, and congratulations to all of us for the anticipated pleasure of working with him.
-- Michael Kinsley, Editorial and Opinion Editor