The Times is moving California political writer Phil Willon onto the Los Angeles City Hall beat. The memo from California Editor David Lauter waxes on a bit about the importance of the beat, via the paper's website:
To: The Staff
From: David Lauter, California Editor
At the core of any news organization lies the job of holding public officials accountable for what they do and say. That's the role which got us our First Amendment protections, and itís the job for which our readers depend on us the most. Here at the Times, that public accountability role takes place in many venues that affect the daily lives of our readers -- our courts, the police, the governor, the Legislature, the White House, the governments of the several counties in our circulation area. But none is more important than covering the government of Los Angeles, our home and the dominant city of our region. So I'm delighted to announce that we're adding Phil Willon, a veteran reporter with extensive experience in covering government and politics, to our City Hall team.
Phil started his journalism career working for the Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Md. He later worked for the Tampa Tribune, where he covered then-Gov. Lawton Chiles and the state Legislature and served as the paper's Washington correspondent. He joined the Times in 1998, working in the Valley edition covering local politics and the secession movement. He then moved to Orange County, where he produced stories on subjects as varied as Anna Nicole Smith's inheritance battle and the plight of foster children. In 2002, he became editor of our Inland Empire edition. Since this fall, he has covered California politics, writing a number of excellent stories, particularly in the lead up to the presidential primary. Now, he'll take that experience and use it in a new assignment central to our mission.
Meanwhile, the Daily News is losing LAUSD beat reporter Naush Boghossian, the type of aggressive reporter the DN needs to cultivate. She gave notice last week, the same day that Carolina Garcia reported in as the new editor. Boghossian is leaving the news business for PR, I'm told at Larson Communications, which has education clients.