Joel Sappell, who vented recently in the American Journalism Review about Sam Zell and other changes that led him to flee the Los Angeles Times, started today as Deputy for Special Projects in the office of county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. I'm told that Sappell, a longtime investigative reporter and editor, will put that experience to work scrutinizing county government operations. Sappell interacted with Yaroslavsly on a number of stories in his 26 years at the Times, and before that at the L.A. Herald Examiner.
Newspaper defection of the day: Award-winning Press-Telegram reporter Wendy Thomas-Russell leaves Friday after ten years, I'm told. I'm losing count of how many staffers are ankling the LANG papers, but low pay, growing workload, declining readership, desperate bean-counters and a bleak future will do that to a place.