When Dean Baquet became LAT editor, speculation swirled around the future of Deputy Managing Editor Joe Hutchinson. He came from the Baltimore Sun with the previous editor, John Carroll, to reinvent the Times process for laying out pages. He hired a bunch of designers, shifted veteran news editors into new jobs, and tinkered with the paper's look. For whatever reason, gossip held that Hutchinson was not a Baquet favorite. Read into it what you will, but yesterday Baquet issued a memo calling Hutchinson "the best newspaper designer in America" and announcing that he would guide a coming redesign of the Times front page and Sunday magazine. But at the same time, his oversight of the design and graphics departments was taken away and given to Assistant Managing Editor for copy desks Melissa McCoy. Baquet memo to the staff follows.
August 23, 2005
From Dean Baquet
To the Staff:
Over the next several months we will redesign the front page and the magazine. We will also discuss the design of various proposed new sections and create an expanded index to the paper, to make it easier to navigate. The leader in these efforts will be Joe Hutchinson. For my money, Joe is the best newspaper designer in America, and the perfect person to help me rethink the look of the paper. I will be inviting various editors and writers in to discuss the redesign.
I want Joe to be able to concentrate his efforts full-time on the design, even though he will continue to oversee the look and feel of the paper. To free him up, I am giving Melissa McCoy, one of our finest managers, day-to-day and administrative oversight of the design and graphics departments, as well as the copy desk. In this new organizational structure, Dave Rickley's news operations group will also report up through Melissa, instead of Leo Wolinsky. These moves will consolidate the departments responsible for the newspaper's production.
Please work closely with Joe and Melissa in their new roles in the paper.