Stanton finally named editor of Times

Russ Stanton
Russ Stanton gets the job of Los Angeles Times editor, as expected for the past few weeks. The announcement had been delayed by the presidential debate in Hollywood, and apparently by the election and Sam Zell's visit. Today it was posted on the web before the formal announcement in the newsroom. From the LAT story:

Signaling a push toward a more digital newsroom, the Los Angeles Times today named Innovation Editor Russ Stanton as the newspaper's top editor.

Publisher David D. Hiller picked Stanton, 49, over two other in-house candidates: Times Managing Editor John Arthur, 60, and Editorial Page Editor Jim Newton, 44.

Stanton will lead a newsroom chafing from the exit of its third editor in less than three years and worried about staff cuts announced this week. Former Editor James E. O'Shea and Hiller parted ways Jan. 21 after a disagreement over the editorial budget.

"Given the strength of the candidates I had, including John Arthur, Jim Newton and Russ, the decision was a difficult one, although ultimately a clear one," Hiller said in an interview. "The decisive factor was who can best lead change in the newsroom. We are literally in a battle to save the future of this great newspaper, and we have to change to survive and thrive in the new world."

Hiller also announced a shakeup on the business side. Circulation chief Jack Klunder takes the new position of president, Los Angeles Times Newspaper. Bob Bellack becomes president of development and digital media, overseeing development efforts and classified advertising. Rob Barrett takes the title of senior vice president of interactive and continues as general manager of, reporting to Bellack. Notably, properties like Hoy, Times Community Newspapers and Metromix now report to marketing head John O'Loughlin.

After the jump: Stanton's background and Hiller's memo

More from the LAT story:

Stanton takes the editor's desk without the same range of experience of his predecessors. Previous Times editors have won Pulitzer Prizes and other accolades for their own reporting or coverage they supervised. High-visibility assignments covering wars or Washington traditionally have been steppingstones to the top job at The Times and other large newspapers.

"We have literally dozens of people here who have been involved in winning Pulitzer prizes in recent years," Stanton said in an interview. "What I bring to the table is an understanding of our print newsroom, our website and the Internet, and how we can make those three things work together to ensure that we're going to be around for another 126 years."

A 10-year veteran of The Times, Stanton moved early last year from business editor to the newly created post of innovation editor. In that job, he oversaw the digital news report and set up systems to help integrate The Times' traditional newsroom with the Web operation.

Stanton, the son of a homemaker and an accountant for agricultural concerns, grew up in Tulare in the San Joaquin Valley, working on student newspapers from junior high school through college. During high school, he also covered high school sports for the Tulare Advance-Register.

Before joining The Times, he worked at the Orange County Register for nine years and at the Riverside Press-Enterprise and the San Bernardino Sun. He began his career as a business reporter at the Visalia Times-Delta in the San Joaquin Valley.

As top editor, one of Stanton's challenges will be to integrate the print and digital staffs. "What the newsroom really wants is honesty now," a veteran metro reporter said. "We want to be told what resources we're going to have, and then editors and reporters can make their own decision on whether they want to be part of it."

Newton said he was honored to be considered for the editor's job but that he withdrew his name a few weeks ago.

Memo from Hiller:

From: Hiller, David
Sent: Thu 2/14/2008 10:58 AM
Subject: Organization & leadership team changes


I want to share with you important organizational changes we are undertaking as of today.

Russ Stanton will be our new editor. Russ is exceptionally well-suited to lead the newsroom in this period of challenge and change. We are facing nothing less than the issue of how we sustain the future of one of the great news franchises in America - the future of The Times as the indispensable, trusted, excellent source of news and information for Southern California in the years ahead. In his role as Innovation Editor, Russ has been championing much of our work to become a truly multimedia news organization, and to create a road map for reinventing the print newspaper in ways that will keep it a relevant and engaging part of the 24-hour-a-day world of news and information. Leading real organizational change in uncharted waters is hard work, frequently met with skepticism or outright resistance, and Russ has truly risen to the test over the past year. Russ combines great personal leadership and communication skills, the highest journalistic standards and commitment to excellence, and a demonstrated understanding of the changing needs of readers and online users that must drive our future.

I want to thank the dozens of our colleagues who weighed in on this decision, sharing opinions, perspective, questions or simple words of encouragement. There are several leaders in our newsroom who were excellent candidates to be editor. With the great commitment we share to The Times, and passion for what we do, feelings and views about the next editor have been strong and heartfelt. What I appreciated most was the universal view that not only did we have such strong candidates, but that people would rally as a team with the next editor to move forward. I know Russ appreciates that support as much as I do.

We are also better aligning ourselves to serve our customers along our three primary lines of business - the print newspaper, interactive and new, targeted media.

Jack Klunder is being named to the newly created position of president, Los Angeles Times Newspaper. In that capacity Jack will be responsible for leading The Times core print newspaper business, working with all the departments across the company that participate in the "daily miracle" that is our paper, including operations, circulation, editorial, advertising and marketing. Jack knows The Times and the newspaper business about as well as anybody I have ever met, and is a walking example of terrific collaboration across our departments. Circulation and Operations will report directly to Jack, and he'll have "dotted line" relationships with the other departments.

Dave Murphy will be transitioning out of his role as general manager and executive vice president, which for the last two years has included heading up our advertising sales. In his three years with The Times, Dave has made outstanding contributions and led our sales organization to become a recognized leader in innovation across the media industry. Dave has also been a great friend and colleague for many years and we wish him and Susan all the best in their next chapter. Revenue is at the top of our priority list, so a nationwide search for Dave's successor is underway. In the interim, our advertising sales director team will report to Jack Klunder. Dave will also be assisting us in a consulting role during the transition.

Bob Bellack will become president, Digital Media, Classified and Development, and Rob Barrett will be senior vice president, Interactive and GM,, reporting to Bob. Together, they will lead all of our initiatives to reach the aggressive goals for growth we have set for our multimedia and online operations. Bob will also lead our company's overall development efforts, including acquisitions, partnerships and new ways to grow in mobile and other new digital arenas. In addition, in classified advertising where Web growth has been so significant, Bob will be responsible for recruitment, real estate, and online automotive categories.

John O'Loughlin will become president, Targeted Media, responsible for leading the growing family of products and services targeted at specific audience segments including Hoy, Times Community Newspapers, Tribune Direct Marketing in L.A, and now Metromix. John will also continue to lead our overall strategy, marketing, planning and research functions. John has overseen much of our new business activity, and is a natural to execute our key strategy of building more products for more audience segments.

Chris Avetisian will become chief financial officer, succeeding Bob Bellack. Chris is a super talented financial executive with a wealth of experience in many different roles during his career at The Times, and will be a great leader of our financial planning activities, working closely with John in coordinating our strategy and project management with our financial planning.

Gwen Murakami will become senior vice president, administration, and in that role HR, employee communications, public affairs and legal will report in to her.

Russ Newton, Kim McCleary La France, Julie Xanders, Bob Palermini and Javier Aldape will continue in their current leadership roles.

We make changes in our management lineup with five simple intentions, that all of us need to apply as we go forward:

* Make sure we have the right, passionate people in the right roles
* Always start with the customer (reader/user/advertiser) and organize around serving their needs
* Make faster, better decisions
* Collaborate well across the company, as it takes all of us to be great
* We have a great civic mission, and we need to support it by being a successful business

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their new roles, and thanks for all you do.


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