* Updated with more details and links
John S. Carroll, who announced his retirement at a newsroom gathering this morning, took over the L.A. Times in 2000. Most reviews have credited him with making it a better paper, despite declining circulation. On his watch as editor the Times won thirteen Pulitzer prizes, the most successful string in the paper's history. It's certainly a much different paper, with the scrawny Metro section replaced by a fatter California section, new feature sections in the back, no more View/Southern California Living, more investigative reporting and less literary journalism, and the hiring of Michael Kinsley to run the opinion side. Since Carroll came on, only two department heads remain in their same jobs—National Editor Scott Kraft and Sports Editor Bill Dwyre. Carroll also famously had dustups with critics over the Schwarzenegger groping stories during the 2003 recall election, and he briefly took on Bill O'Reilly and Fox News over news bias. Of course, Carroll was also the author of a much-discussed memo about liberal bias at the Times that spawned imitators, comment, and some fumbling by O'Reilly. Editor & Publisher says his last day will be August 15. He is 63.
Dean Baquet, the new editor, is a native of New Orleans and joined the LAT as Managing Editor (the number two spot) in 2000. He had been National Editor of the New York Times and had also worked as a reporter there and at the Chicago Tribune, where he won a Pulitzer in 1988 for stories on "the self-interest and waste that plague Chicago's City Council." Baquet is 48 and lives in Santa Monica. He's the first African American to be named top editor of the LAT, according to Editor & Publisher. Speculation immediately begins about who will be named his number two, with some smart money betting that the managing editor job(s) will be divided among more than one person. (Among the names being mentioned are Deputy Managing Editor Leo Wolinsky and Istanbul-based investigative reporter Doug Frantz, who worked closely with Baquet at the Chicago Tribune and New York Times. Expect to hear others.) In 2003, Baquet had discussions with NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger about returning there as managing editor. Also that year, Baquet responded to the groping-stories controversy by telling a group he would rather the LAT be respected than loved: "We should be tough, we should be believed, we should be vital. And that's a whole lot better than being loved." He got a response to that from NYU's Jay Rosen.
By the way, Baquet's name is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable: BA-kay.
The Times has a story on its website. The paper also announced that Kinsley's editorial and opinion pages will once again report solely to the publisher, rather than to the editor as was done under Carroll. The Times' press release with brief bios on Carroll and Baquet follows:
Dean P. Baquet to Succeed John S. Carroll as Executive Vice President and Editor
LOS ANGELES, July 20 /PRNewswire/ -- The Los Angeles Times announced today that Dean P. Baquet, managing editor, will become executive vice president and editor on August 15. He succeeds John S. Carroll who is retiring from The Times.
"John is one of the country's most well-respected editors who believes deeply in great journalism," said Jeffrey M. Johnson, Times publisher. "Since joining The Times in 2000, John has raised the standards in virtually every area of the news operation, and has led the paper through a period of great achievement, including 13 Pulitzer Prizes. We are indebted to him for his extraordinary legacy of journalistic excellence and wish him every happiness in the future.
"Dean is an exceptionally talented, dynamic and well-respected editor who has been essential to the progress of The Times during the last five years. His personal leadership qualities and breadth of experience, both at The Times and in prior assignments, make him the very best person to succeed John. We have the highest confidence in his abilities to lead the news operations of this great paper," said Johnson.
"Being editor of The Times these last five years has been a privilege," said Carroll. "I'm grateful for the staff's fine work and generous spirit. The journalistic achievements speak for themselves. Regarding my successor, I hired Dean five years ago, hoping he'd be right for this job. I doubt there's a better qualified editor anywhere."
"It is an extraordinary honor to succeed John Carroll, one of the best editors in America, and to have the chance to lead one of the country's greatest papers," said Baquet.
As part of the leadership transition, the editorial and opinion pages of the Los Angeles Times now will report directly to the publisher. "The editorial and opinion pages are distinct and completely separate from the news department," said Johnson. "This change underscores the independence of these pages from the news operations."
Dean P. Baquet
Baquet, 48, joined The Times in 2000, after serving as national editor of The New York Times since 1995. He joined The New York Times in 1990 as an investigative reporter, focusing on local and Washington, D.C. investigations. During that period, Baquet was a finalist, with another reporter, for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series of stories about poor care in New York City's public hospitals.
Prior to joining The New York Times, Baquet reported for the Chicago Tribune from 1984 to 1990, and before that for The States-Item and The Times-Picayune in New Orleans for nearly seven years. While at the Chicago Tribune, Baquet served as associate metropolitan editor for investigations and was chief investigative reporter. He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 1988 as one of a team of three reporters documenting corruption in the Chicago City Council. Baquet attended Columbia University where he majored in English.
John S. Carroll
Carroll, 63, was named editor of the Los Angeles Times in 2000. During the past five years, the 13 Pulitzer Prizes awarded to The Times recognized editorial excellence in a wide range of categories and include the coveted Gold Medal for Public Service in 2005. Carroll also introduced a broader-themed California section in all editions of the paper, established investigative teams in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., introduced new features sections, and completed a major redesign of the paper.
Prior to joining The Times, Carroll was senior vice president and editor of The Baltimore Sun starting in 1991. From 1979 to 1991, Carroll worked at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald and later the Lexington Herald-Leader in several executive roles including editor, vice president and executive vice president. Before that, he held several editor positions at the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1972 to 1979.
From 1966 to 1972, Carroll worked at The Baltimore Sun as a local reporter, Vietnam correspondent, Middle East correspondent and White House correspondent. He began his newspaper career in 1963 as a state staff reporter for the Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin. From May 1964 to May 1966, Carroll served in the U.S. Army.
Carroll holds a bachelor's degree from Haverford College. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and a Visiting Journalist Fellow at Queen Elizabeth House-Oxford University. He was elected an American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow in 2003, and received both the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Leadership Award and the Committee to Protect Journalists' Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in defense of press freedom in 2004. He served on the Pulitzer Prize board from 1994 to 2003 and was chairman in 2002.
The Los Angeles Times, a Tribune Publishing company, is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper in the country and the winner of 37 Pulitzer Prizes, including two this year. The Times publishes five daily regional editions, for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, Orange County, Ventura County, the San Fernando Valley, and the Inland Empire of Riverside and San Bernardino counties, as well as a National edition. Additional information about The Times is available at www.latimes.com/mediacenter.