Political scribe jumps to think tank

Joe Mathews, who's covering the presidential campaign, will leave the Los Angeles Times sometime after Super Tuesday to join the New America Foundation as a California Fellow. Other ex-Timesmen already at New America are Andres Martinez, who resigned as Editor of the Editorial Pages in a high-profile dust-up last year, and Rick Wartzman, the former editor of West Magazine who also departed the LAT last year under unhappy circumstances. Mathews, however, isn't going away mad. He says the career change is motivated by a desire to pursue other interests. He is the author of "The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy."

Also joining New America is T.A. Frank, an editor at the Washington Monthly. The announcement from Gregory Rodriguez, director of the California Fellows Program, follows:

Dear California Team,

I'm super pleased to be able to announce that Joe Mathews and T.A. Frank will be joining our ranks as California Fellows.

Building on his fine work as a political reporter at the Los Angeles Times, Joe will be examining political disengagement in California. He will be studying the interaction between lawmakers and voters, between the initiative and the referendum, and between the state's major interest groups, with a particular focus on labor, real estate, and media.

While at the Times, Joe covered education, labor, Gov. Schwarzenegger, and, most recently, national politics and the presidential campaign. He is the author of The People's Machine: Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Rise of Blockbuster Democracy (PublicAffairs, 2006), an account of Schwarzenegger's first term and his use of ballot measures as governing tools.

After a two-year stint as a bicoastal editor at the Washington Monthly, T.A. Frank will be settling more permanently in California to write about law, criminal justice, and labor. With a robust tech sector, busy ports, and a changing economy, California finds itself having to face new sorts of crime, such as terrorism, cybercrime, and financial fraud. Developments in California's labor market are equally far-reaching. Tom will examine not only how the state is reevaluating its approach towards crime and punishment but how the state is transitioning to a postindustrial economy. He'll be looking at which sectors are prospering and which are falling behind and why new jobs in the state tend to be bifurcated between high and low wages.

Tom has written for The New Republic, The American Prospect, The Weekly Standard, and other publications. He'll continue to publish in such high-profile venues. He will also remain on the masthead of the Washington Monthly.

Both Joe and T.A. will join us after the primary season. Let's give them a warm welcome.

Gregory Rodriguez
Director, California Fellows Program
New America Foundation

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent LAT stories on LA Observed:
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
Why the LA Times' new theater column needs a new name
Helping in Houston, new lion cubs, Garcetti's back
Memo: New LA Times publisher drops web widget
Warren Olney leaving KCRW's radio lineup
LA Times purge 'capped a month of newsroom turmoil'
As the L.A. Times turns ...


LA Observed on Twitter