As if freelancers weren't already feeling pensive about the coming remake of the Times Sunday magazine, they now have good reason to expect fewer assignments. Four staff writers are being re-assigned to the magazine. And they're good ones: J.R. Moehringer, Lynell George, Mark Arax and Shawn Hubler. The memo follows, but freelancers should take some solace in knowing that these four can't write most of the cover stories. Moehringer and Arax, in particular, tend toward longer, infrequent pieces. While the LAT Magazine hasn't had staff writers recently, and never had four, it is a return to past practice.
To: The Staff
Fm: John Montorio, Deputy Managing Editor
Rick Wartzman, Magazine Editor
It is our great pleasure to announce that four extraordinarily talented journalists--J.R. Moehringer, Lynell George, Mark Arax and Shawn Hubler--will be joining the Sunday magazine as staff writers.
The naming of these four underscores the paper's commitment to infusing the magazine with new energy and resources as we move toward a re-launch later this year.
J.R., who came to The Times in 1994 as a reporter in Orange County and has most recently been a national correspondent based in Denver, brings to the magazine a reputation as one of the best writers at the paper. It is well-earned. J.R. won the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing in 2000 for his portrait of Gee> '> s Bend, Ala., an isolated river town where many descendants of slaves live and where a proposed ferry to the mainland threatened to change the community. He was a Pulitzer finalist for feature writing in 1998 for his magazine piece "Resurrecting The Champ," which chronicled heavyweight boxer Bob Satterfield's glory days--and his demons. J.R. has claimed many other honors, as well, including a 1997 Livingston Award for Young Journalists. His first book, "The Tender Bar: A Memoir," is set to be published in September. Before joining The Times, J.R. worked as a reporter at the Rocky Mountain News and as a news assistant at the New York Times.
Lynell, who joined The Times in 1993 in the View section, became a member of the Pop Music staff in Calendar a decade later, where she has been covering jazz, pop and world music. Through the years, her eclectic tastes, distinctive voice and graceful writing have set her work apart. She won the Los Angeles Times Editorial Award for best feature in 1994. Prior to The Times, she was a staff writer at L.A. Weekly, where she wrote about culture, the arts and social issues. She received a National Association of Black Journalists Award for her six-part series "Sometimes a Light Surprises: The Life of a Black Church." Her work has appeared in various magazines--The Nation, Ms., Essence and Vibe, among them--as well as in several essay collections, including "Writing Los Angeles: A Literary Anthology." She is the author of "No Crystal Stair: African-Americans in the City of Angels."
Mark, who for the last 15 years has covered the San Joaquin Valley for the paper from his hometown of Fresno, joined The Times in 1984 in the San Gabriel Valley section. Since then, he has shown himself to be a journalistic rarity: someone able to report and write investigative pieces that hit extremely hard and narrative features that truly sing. Mark has won numerous awards over the years, including a PEN West Award for Literary Journalism in 1998 for his memorable piece about the McFarland High cross-country team. He was Times Mirror Journalist of the Year in 1999, in part for his work exposing the brutal treatment of California prison inmates at the hands of their guards. He is the author of a critically acclaimed memoir, "In My Father's Name," and co-author of the best-selling "The King of California: J.G. Boswell and the Making of a Secret American Empire," which won a 2004 California Book Award. Before joining The Times, Mark was a staff writer at the Baltimore Evening Sun.
Shawn has been with The Times since 1989, first as a beat reporter in the South Bay, then as a Metro reporter, then as a Metro columnist, then as a feature writer in San Francisco and Orange County. Her meticulous reporting and novelist's eye for detail are remarkable, as is her range: She helped cover the L.A. riots, broke the Heidi Fleiss story, profiled the late Nicole Brown Simpson and went behind the scenes at the first m> illion-dollar Pillsbury Bake-Off. As a columnist, she helped to bring about legislation regulating theme parks and won state and national awards for columns on the psychological aspects of homelessness and police brutality. In San Francisco, she followed Willie Brown's last days as mayor, Jerry Garcia's probate battle and Rosie O'Donnell's lesbian wedding. For the past year, she has been a feature writer in O.C., telling tales of $10-million houses and suburban adolescents. Besides The Times, Shawn has worked at the Orange County Register, Tucson Citizen, Clearfield (Pa.) Progress and the now-defunct Los Angeles Herald Examiner and Washington Star.
J.R., Lynell, Mark and Shawn will be wrapping up their current assignments in the coming weeks. They will then move over to the magazine, where plans for a redesign are well underway.
Please join us in wishing all four tremendous success in their new jobs.