Lippman goes back to the Times

It's hiring memo day at the L.A. Times. First, before he became the Wall Street Journal Hollywood columnist and a Sitrick and Company troubleshooter, John Lippman covered the television biz for the LAT Business desk. After a dozen or so years, he's going back to the section as a deputy editor on the entertainment pod. It's almost a swap, as the editor he replaces, Jim Bates, recently jumped to Sitrick. As for Lippman, Rupert Murdoch is just glad he's no longer at the Journal, as the memo alludes:

To : The Staff
From: Davan Maharaj, Business Editor
and Sallie Hofmeister, Deputy Business Editor

John Lippman is best known for his story about how a young Chinese-born TV executive named Wendi Deng arrived in the U.S., became the wife of Rupert Murdoch and rose to become a powerful force at his company, News Corp.

When Murdoch, owner-in-waiting of the Wall Street Journal, was asked recently by Journal reporters if he had any problems with the paper's coverage of his company, the media mogul replied that he had none--with the exception of that story about his wife. Asked if he would have taken any action against the writer, Murdoch assured: "No, he's gone."

Now John is coming to Business as an editor in the entertainment group, replacing Jim Bates. Those of you fortunate to be here in the early 1990s will remember John as the television beat reporter who broke an endless string of stories and chronicled the congenital deal-making among media moguls in the pre-Internet age. He then left us for The Wall Street Journal, where he covered the movie industry and wrote the much-followed Hollywood Report column.

At the WSJ, John was known for such front-page stories detailing how "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers" producer Haim Saban came to rule children's television -- Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan said he was appalled -- and how a hot Pasadena start-up called Gemstar TV run by a Cal Tech engineer nearly collapsed from its aggressive accounting methods.

After 25 years as a reporter covering entertainment and media, John will now apply those skills helping to shepherd the group's stories into the paper. Before he arrived at The Times the first time, John worked at The Sunday Times in London, Variety, and Broadcasting & Cable magazine. He grew up in New Hope, Pa., and graduated from St. John's College, Annapolis, Md. John has spent the past year trying his hand at public relations at Sitrick & Co.

John lives in the foothills of Pasadena, where he spends his weekend running the trails of the San Gabriel Mountains and trying to amuse his wife, Eve Zukowski, a psychologist, and his two daughters, Rose, 9, and Sonja, 4, with his knowledge of Ancient Greek.. Like Murdoch, they remain unimpressed.

Also, Metro investigative reporter Matt Lait won't have his byline on any more LAPD disclosures, but he'll still be a thorn in the department's side. He's moving into the editor ranks. The memo on him and other editing moves in Metro after the jump:

To: The Staff
From: David Lauter, California Editor

I'm very happy to announce several changes to our editing lineup that will strengthen the Metro desk in a number of ways. A couple of these folks already have started their new posts, while others will begin soon.

MEGAN GARVEY -- Megan has taken on one of the most demanding and also most crucial jobs in the lineup, morning assignment editor. Leo Wolinsky, who once filled that job, counseled me when I started that everything else is possible if you just get the day started correctly. Megan will ensure that we do that, following the path set by our city editor, Shelby Grad, when he held the morning post. As a Times reporter since 1998, working in Orange County, Los Angeles and in our Washington bureau, Megan brought fire, determination and a keen intelligence to the 868 stories that carried her byline. As an editor, she will bring a similar intensity and drive to making sure we produce the best possible daily lineup of stories.

MARY MACVEAN -- Mary has spent the last several months in the dual role of web deputy and morning assignment editor. We'll now separate the two jobs, allowing her to focus her full attention to deepening and bettering our local, regional and state news report on the web site. Even when she was dividing her time, Mary was able to substantially improve our web presence, as we all saw every day during the coverage of the wildfires last month. Now, she'll be able to do even more. One important element of her job will be reshaping and improving our education blog, which will allow the LA Times to create a crucial link on the web to readers on an issue of central importance.

RICHARD KIPLING -- For the past several years, Richard has gamely held down the most thankless job in the department, handling the multitudinous administrative tasks that beset a place this large. Now he's going to get a chance to do something far more fun -- work with young reporters. We have a larger number of young reporters than has been true in the past. Those of you who have worked with them know how talented they are. But rather than simply tossing them all into the pool and asking them to swim, we need to have a structured system for training, evaluating and moving them along. Richard will make that happen, employing the mentoring skills that he has honed in his years as an editor and a former director of the Metpro program.

MATT LAIT -- Since 1989, Matt's byline has appeared in the Los Angeles Times 2,385 times. You can look it up. Two of his first three bylines as a Times reporter were shared with Davan Maharaj. He's moved up in the world since, writing solo but also often teaming up with Scott Glover to cover some of the biggest stories we've had here, including the scandal surrounding the LAPD's Rampart division. Now he'll bring his deep knowledge of the region -- and particularly its law enforcement institutions -- to the editing side, joining Gale Holland as an editor handling courts, police and legal affairs.

Please join me in congratulating each of these extremely talented journalists on their new assignments.

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