Talk about awkward timing. Miriam Pawel, the reporter on this month's L.A. Times' series about the United Farm Workers union, applied for the employee buyout back in November and was accepted. Her departure was delayed so she could see the UFW series into the paper, but she will be leaving shortly, according to a senior journalist in the newsroom. There's some concern at the Times that the union will try to claim it forced her out or spin her exit as a bad reflection on the stories. To that I say: you think? They're pissed.
In truth, the seeds of Pawel's departure were sown after she lost her title as the assistant managing editor for Metro in 2004 and went back to reporting. I mentioned she was likely to leave back in the first post about the UFW stories on January 8. Newsroom speculation is that Pawel hopes to write a book, perhaps on the UFW.
* Baquet confirms: (11 am) Editor Dean Baquet tells me that Pawel's departure has "absolutely nothing to do with the UFW series. I thought it was a terrific piece of journalism, and her decision to leave came before publication of the story."