LAT hires from Merc

There's one California newspaper in bigger turmoil than the Times: the San Jose Mercury-News. After being taken over by the Dean Singleton crowd last year, the Mercury has been downsizing and losing some good people. Today the Times inked one of the Mercury's Silicon Valley stalwarts, columnist Michelle Quinn. She'll be a tech reporter in San Francisco. Memo after the jump. (Also: Metro's Robin Fields moves to the Washington investigative team.)

To: The Staff
From: Russ Stanton, Business Editor

Michelle Quinn, a technology columnist at the San Jose Mercury News, joins the Business section today as a reporter in our San Francisco bureau.

Michelle was at The Merc for 10 years, where she was one of the anchors of the paper's technology team. Among other things, she covered all of the big Hewlett-Packard stories in recent years (the Compaq acquisition, Carly Fiorina's firing, the spying scandal) and co-wrote a column called "Swing Shift" during the dot-com boom. She also wrote about workplace and family issues.

Before The Merc, Michelle was a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle. She got her start here at The Times, spending the summer of 1992 as an intern in the Calendar section before moving to the Ventura County bureau as a full-time stringer.

Michelle is a 1986 graduate of the University of Delaware, got her master's degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 1992 and was a Knight Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan in 2002-2003. She grew up in Delaware, the most business friendly state in the nation. More importantly, she attended the same high school as George Thorogood.

Michelle will focus on the big hardware players -- HP, Dell, Intel, AMD and Apple -- and on the unique culture of the Silicon Valley's signature industry. She'll be in L.A. later this month for a two-week howdy doody tour.

Also this:

To: The Staff
From: Marilyn Thompson, National Investigations Editor

We are delighted to announce that Robin Fields, currently a reporter on the Metro investigations team, will transfer to Washington to work with the national investigations unit.

Robin is exactly the kind of driven, resourceful and penetrating reporter we've been seeking for this important job. She was part of the Metro reporting team that produced the Guardians For Profit series in November 2005, winning the Scripps Howard National Journalism Award for investigative reporting and public service awards from Sigma Delta Chi and the APME.

Robin joined The Times in 1999 from the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, where she was a senior writer. She has a master's degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and a bachelor's in European history from the University of Pennsylvania.

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