Baquet goes with two ME's

MontorioWolinskyFrantzLAT editor Dean Baquet this morning made it official that Doug Frantz and Leo Wolinsky will be his number two's as managing editor. Features czar John Montorio also gets a boost, to associate editor from deputy managing editor. Frantz, an investigative reporter with little editing experience currently living in Istanbul, "will oversee the paper's major newsgathering operations, including foreign, metro, national, Washington, business, sports, science, and obituaries," Baquet's announcement reads. Wolinsky, currently a deputy managing editor, will continue to chair the front-page meetings and will take on an amorphous task as "our primary student of readership, taking the lead in what will be a renewed effort to attract more readers and gain circulation." He will also fulfill administrative functions overseeing staffing and budgeting, and will be the newsroom's primary representative to the paper's publishing and business side. Wolinsky has had the managing editor title once before, at a time when there were four MEs. He also has been executive editor when that title was the newsroom's number two position.

The appointment of Frantz will get most of the attention. He and Baquet first worked together at the Chicago Tribune, then collaborated at the New York Times. Frantz got a taste of editing at the NYT, serving briefly as investigations editor before returning to reporting. He and the LAT staff in Los Angeles are mostly strangers, although he had worked at the LAT before leaving for New York. He returned to the staff after his pal Baquet came here to be managing editor, but always in bureaus. He has written eight books, and with his wife Catherine Collins is working on a biography of AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program. Montorio will "take on a variety of special projects on the news side, including the encouragement of more profiles in the A section, and better coverage of trends across the paper," Baquet's memo says.

Left to right, that's Frantz, 56; Wolinsky, 56; and Montorio, 57. Photos are from the Times website, which has a story up. Baquet's memo follows:

To: The Staff
From: Dean Baquet

I am pleased to announce the appointments of three senior editors who will report to me and form the core of the paper's leadership team. This team is composed of two managing editors, with distinctly different roles, and an associate editor.


I am promoting Leo Wolinsky and Doug Frantz to managing editor and John Montorio to a position of enhanced responsibility as associate editor.


I chose two managing editors because I wanted an aggressive way to address the issue of declining readership, to have someone focus on it. And I wanted someone to run the newsroom day to day. For a newspaper of our scope and complexity, it seemed this would be enough work for more than one person.


At the same time, I am promoting Montorio because he is one of the best editors in the country, and I want him to expand his role at the paper.

More on each of them:


I. Doug Frantz, our international investigative reporter, will oversee the paper's major newsgathering operations, including foreign, metro, national, Washington, business, sports, science, and obituaries.

Throughout his career Doug has been a leader on news, enterprise, and investigations. At The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times he has covered some of the biggest local, national and international stories, including the illegal arming of Iraq, corruption in the Teamsters union, and insider trading on Wall Street. He was a metro and Washington reporter for the Chicago Tribune from 1978 to 1987. He joined the Los Angeles Times in 1987 as a business reporter, and eventually became an investigative reporter in the Washington bureau. From 1994 to 2000 he was an investigative reporter for The New York Times, later becoming the paper's investigations editor. He rejoined the Los Angeles Times in May 2003, as a reporter based in Istanbul.

Doug has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize --- at the Los Angeles Times for a series of stories on the arming of Iraq before the Gulf War, and at The New York Times for a series on Scientology. He is the author of eight nonfiction books. He and his wife Catherine Collins are currently working on a biography of AQ Khan, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program. He will be returning to Los Angeles later this year to take on his new assignment.

II. Leo Wolinsky will continue to chair the paper's page one operation, though he will soon select a new editor to manage it day-to-day. In his new job, Leo will continue to encourage the evolution of the front page, an ongoing effort to make it livelier and harder-hitting. He will also be our primary student of readership, taking the lead in what will be a renewed effort to attract more readers and gain circulation. With this appointment we are placing one of our most accomplished and thoughtful editors over one of our most significant programs, one that will affect virtually every part of the paper. Leo will also oversee staffing and budgeting. And he will be the newsroom's primary representative to the business side.


In addition, Leo will work closely with Joel Sappell on issues that affect the Website and multimedia and will oversee departments responsible for production and newsroom logistics.


Leo has been with the paper since 1977, about 14 of those years as a reporter. Among other jobs, he has been executive editor, managing editor for news, metro editor, city editor and California political editor. He directed the paper's Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the Los Angeles riots and the Northridge earthquake.


III. John Montorio, one of the country's most accomplished features editors, will become the paper's Associate Editor. This reinstates a storied title, one held in the past by Jim Bellows, among others. This promotion is a testament to John's leadership of our features sections. But more than that, it reflects the fact that I have asked him to play a larger leadership role in the paper. Besides continuing to run the features sections, John in the coming months will take on a variety of special projects on the news side, including the encouragement of more profiles in the A section, and better coverage of trends across the paper.


John has been deputy managing editor of The Times for four years. He has overseen the launch of Home and Outdoors and the re-launch of Calendar, Food, Health and, shortly, the Sunday magazine.

Before coming to the Los Angeles Times, he was associate managing editor of The New York Times, responsible for overseeing various projects and departments, including special sections. In New York, he oversaw the launch of several of the paper's signature feature sections, including Dining, House & Home, Sunday Styles, The City and The Living Arts. Previously, he edited the Sunday magazines at both the Washington Star and at Newsday.

Previously:
Baquet era begins
It's Baquet's LAT now
Previous posts on the Los Angeles Times


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