Monday was Dean Baquet's first day on the masthead as Editor of the L.A. Times. Besides holding a half-dozen conferences on stories with reporters and editors, and fending off questions about who his #2 editor will be, Baquet also sat for a Los Angeles Magazine interview with me. There is a lot of media interest in the paper and Baquet right now, with the transition between editors and continuing rumors about the Tribune Company's demands for further cost-cutting. Ken Auletta of The New Yorker arrives Tuesday to begin a multi-day battery of interviews around the newsroom for a long piece on the Times, Tribune and the future of newspapers. Michael Massing of the New York Review of Books is working on a piece, I'm told. And editors in Calendar are bracing for an upcoming LA Weekly story that Nikki Finke has been pursuing for some time.
Former Editor John Carroll vacated the building last Wednesday, after a cocktail party in a mostly vacant part of the building that used to be the reception salon for directors of Times Mirror, the company swallowed by Tribune in 2000. I'm told that Carroll was lauded and applauded for his thirteen Pulitzers. But his concerns about the Tribune's heavy hand got mentioned a few times in the four-page spoof newspaper put together by senior editors to mark his send-off. An example is this mock quote, ostensibly Carroll explaining why he resigned:
"I really want to spend more time with my family...This really has nothing to do with the decline of journalism or the fact that a bunch of hod carriers in Chicago want to pare my newsroom budget to the bone."
Speculation is that Baquet will name two or more managing editors below him. The names mentioned most often are Deputy Managing Editor Leo Wolinsky and Istanbul-based reporter Doug Frantz, who worked with Baquet at the Chicago Tribune and New York Times. Also grist for the rumor mill: Deputy Managing Editor John Montorio, Assistant ME's Janet Clayton and Marc Duvoisin, National Editor Scott Kraft, Foreign Editor Marjorie Miller and Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron, a friend from Baquet's days at the New York Times. Baquet wouldn't comment on names, but told me he hopes to have some ME news "within four weeks" and that it's possible he will go with dual managing editors (the NYT has two.)