In the past year or so the Los Angeles Times newsroom has seen the creation of the Image Team, the Demographics desk and the Sense of Place team. Yet another new term is being added to the vernacular: the Flying Squad, apparently a select team of editors who will "move when and where the work moves. If you can fly without a net, fly blind and enjoy flying by the seat of your pants, this is the newspaper job for you." Wonder if this dovetails with the ethic posted on the office door of News Design Director Michael Whitley: "Sleep is for the weak."
NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN DESIGN AND COPY EDITING
The paper is looking for versatile journalists to take on a new assignment that emphasizes teamwork and flexibility. A top-tier group of copy and design editors, hereby known as the Flying Squad, is being formed to move when and where the work moves. If you can fly without a net, fly blind and enjoy flying by the seat of your pants, this is the newspaper job for you--at least for six months, which is the minimum tour of duty. There are also opportunities to make it a permanent assignment depending on interest.
Most of these editors will be called upon to copy edit or slot one day and design pages the next, sometimes across sections. In some instances, editors might design pages and copy edit in the same shift. Performing at the highest levels in both of these crafts is extremely difficult, so only the most talented editors will be selected for this small utility team.
Candidates should be comfortable editing stories on deadline; writing compelling headlines, captions and refers; designing pages, evaluating photography and working with graphics. This opportunity is not for everyone -- just flexible editors with the confidence and skills to help The Times maintain its high quality during a period of staffing challenges. Depending on interest and expertise, there could be opportunities to work with the CCI team in News Operations or pitch in with other groups. The willingness to change direction on short notice will be key, but editors can expect to have regular, consecutive days off and will most likely work primarily at night. The responsibilities will include but stretch beyond daily editing needs and breaking news, and could include working with the Web, assisting with projects or helping senior editors on special initiatives.
This does not represent a break from the discrete Copy Editing and Design departments that were formed several years ago and have significantly improved quality in both disciplines. Rather, this recognizes that there are editors in both departments and elsewhere at The Times who have the ability and desire to go beyond their current duties--and that staffing levels demand new flexibility across the paper.
Interested candidates should contact Melissa McCoy, deputy managing editor.