The memo is out on the additions we told you were coming to the Times' web staff — LAist's Tony Pierce and LAO's Veronique de Turenne — plus a couple of other moves. Here's the deal from the site's executive editor, Meredith Artley:
Colleagues: As we wrap up a great year at latimes.com, I'm excited to announce the following changes and additions to our digital efforts.
Bettie Rinehart is taking on the new role of Weekend Editor. In her almost eight years at latimes.com, Bettie has been a writer, editor, producer and, during her stint as Editor of Reader Interactivity, headed up the launch of Your Scene, one of the most popular and innovative areas of the site. Bettie also took the fledgling blog program at latimes.com and through recruiting, developing and working with talented in-house and freelance bloggers, built a section of original content that has more than doubled its page views in the past year. Bettie's in-depth knowledge of the site, the paper and our readers will come in handy in her new job, where she will help to create a new kind of latimes.com on the weekends by focusing on special features and projects and also guiding our weekend staff when news breaks to get us strongly and quickly off the ground. Bettie starts her new job on Jan. 24. So this raises the question of who will oversee new and existing blogs and user-generated content....
Tony Pierce, formerly the editor of LAist.com, is joining us as Blog Editor. Tony's tenure at LAist was marked by unique local postings that drew record-breaking traffic. Page views more than tripled at the group blog in the past year. How did he do it? By blogging the heck out of L.A., from launching the well-received Neighborhood Project to uniquely covering topics such as local sports, transportation and music to simply having fun by reviewing Thai restaurants with his colleagues. Tony knows L.A. and the blogosphere very well - he wowed us with ideas and suggestions about how we can improve many of the great blogs we have now, and what we can create for the future. He asked this question early on in the interview process: "If I can get a million page views with mostly amateurs as we blog about L.A., what can I do with real journalists and all of the access that comes with being part of the LAT?" Tony starts Dec. 17.
Veronique de Turenne is joining us as our lead blogger on a local news effort that's under development and scheduled to launch early next year. Her blog on LAObserved, Here in Malibu, is a smart, breezy, visual report from Paradise Cove. Veronique has a great bio, but we're biased because she has had many bylines with us before (327 since 1990). Many of those bylines were from her work on the State Desk, and she has also written for the Sunday Magazine, Home, Food, Outdoors and the Book Review. You may have also heard her voice as a book critic on NPR's Day to Day program. We look forward to having Veronique's voice on latimes.com, at the center of a new local news effort, working side by side with David Lauter and his team. Initially, Veronique will report into the innovation team. She starts Jan. 2.
Ben Welsh is joining us as our database producer. He's going to create all kinds of deep databases in a variety of sections, starting with a local focus (hmm... there's a theme in here). Ben will be integral to making latimes.com much more of a resource for our readers looking for specific information that matters to them. Ben previously worked at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington D.C. as their Interactive Technologies Editor and Assistant Database Editor. Ben will work closely with Eric Ulken, Doug Smith and many section editors, building great things for our readers. He starts Dec. 17. Ben reports into Dan Gaines.
Please join me in welcoming Tony, Veronique and Ben, and in congratulating Bettie.
Executive Editor, LATimes.com