In response to a question from golfing journalist Geoff Shackelford at the Times Festival of Books, LAT Editor Dean Baquet said (as he had when I interviewed him last fall) that he felt the Sports department had been cut too much and would begin to grow again. On Thursday some of that came true. New Sports Editor Randy Harvey (in photo) emailed the staff about some additions that fill openings announced here in March. Bill Rempel I told you about earlier—a veteran of the Clinton Troopergate investigation and years of reporting on the global arms market, he leaves National to become deputy sports editor for projects and investigations. Gary Cohn, the Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter who was the lead writer on those hot-button stories in 2003 about groping allegations against candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger, brings his Rolodex and digging skills over to Sports. And Lance Pugmire, a former sportswriter who has been covering news in the Inland Empire of late, returns. The memo follows; no mention of Michael Hiltzik, who had been rumored to be headed to an investigative reporter gig in sports:
To: The Staff
From: Randy Harvey, Sports Editor
I am extremely pleased to announce three additions to the Sports Department that will greatly enhance our ability to pursue investigative stories, projects and daily news stories.
Bill Rempel, who has worked in almost every news department in the 33 years he has been with The Times, adds the Sports Department to his resume by becoming deputy sports editor for projects and investigations. He also will be in charge of developing stories for the front page of the newspaper.
Bill has been involved in one capacity or another with numerous high-profile stories, including Iran-Contra, Exxon Valdez, the Challenger crash, the Oklahoma City bombing and Troopergate. His coverage of Ferdinand Marcos led to a book, "Delusions of a Dictator," published in 1993.
He also assisted in stories in 2004 about the federal government's investigation of fight-fixing. That was not his first sports experience. He previously worked as a sports writer for the Whittier Daily News and the Herald Examiner.
Gary Cohn joins sports as an investigative reporter. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting in 1998 while at the Baltimore Sun for "The Shipbreakers," a series about the dangers to workers and the environment when old ships are dismantled. He was a Pulitzer finalist on two other occasions for the Sun, in 1996 for Public Service and in 1998 for National Reporting.
Prior to the Sun, he worked as a reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Wall Street Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader. He also was a reporter for Jack Anderson's column from 1975-80. He joined The Times in 2003 as an investigative reporter for the business section.
Lance Pugmire comes back to sports as an investigative/projects reporter after three years of covering police, courts and a little bit of everything else for the Inland Empire edition. He was among the reporters contributing to The Times' Pulitzer Prize for news coverage in 2003 of the largest wildfire in the history of the state.
During his previous time with the Sports Department, Lance took the lead in coverage of Northwestern football player Rashidi Wheeler's death and was part of a team investigating the role of ephedra in the deaths of other athletes over a two-year period. He also joined David Wharton in coverage of the disappearance at sea of former pro basketball player Bison Dele.
Bill, Gary and Lance will come to the sports department after completing their current projects, probably before the middle of June. They will join a team of sports reporters, including Alan Abrahamson, Greg Johnson, Bill Shaikin and David Wharton, who often are involved in investigative and project reporting.