Sources at the L.A. Times confirm the buzz that Steve Wasserman is out as editor of the LAT Book Review. There since 1996, he informed his staff on Friday, after having a discussion with editor John Carroll about his waning independence. Wasserman has been known to be unhappy about the level of scrutiny he receives from Deputy Managing Editor John Montorio and Associate Editor of Features Tim Rutten. Some sources say the meeting with Carroll was essentially an ultimatum, with Wasserman needing to hear that he would be free to run the Book Review as he saw fit. He didn't hear that, so he resigned and reportedly has "irons in the fire," but no other job yet. Wasserman has been instrumental in building the prestige of the Times Book Prizes and Festival of Books, and at last month's festival he was treated by many visiting authors and publishing industry figures as something of a celebrity. At USC, he is co-founder of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, which gathers local intellectuals, literati and journalists twice each month for discussions. At the Times, he was one of just three key editors who held the same post since the Shelby Coffey era: National Editor Scott Kraft and Sports Editor Bill Dwyre are the others. Wasserman is out of the building until Wednesday; his last day officially is said to be May 13.
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