New county reporter at LAT

Garrett Therolf gets a partner in the Times' big but lonely office tucked away in the Hall of Administration on Temple Street. Molly Hennessy-Fiske has worked in Washington, Baghdad and Metro in her two or so years with the LAT. I've written before about the difficulty of keeping reporters on the county beat, so here's hoping they stay awhile and gain some experience on one of the hardest local beats to crack. Email memo from California editor David Lauter:

I'm happy to announce that Molly Hennessy-Fiske, who has done excellent work in Washington, Baghdad and on the Metro staff, will be taking on a new assignment, joining our City-County bureau to focus on LA County government.

Molly joined The Times initially in the Washington bureau in 2006, where she wrote about economics and the gathering home mortgage crisis, did excellent work on the Virginia Tech shootings and served two tours in our Baghdad bureau. Since moving to the Metro staff last year, she has had a role in practically every major story to come along, from the wildfires to gang shootings, the San Marino murder mystery and, most recently, the Chatsworth train crash. She has been an innovator on our morning desk, pioneering in efforts to get our stories out on the Web quickly and cleanly. And she has proven herself repeatedly as a versatile, dogged and resourceful reporter -- qualities she'll need in dealing with the county bureaucracy and the supervisors.

In her new assignment, she'll be partnering with another determined, energetic reporter, Garrett Therolf, who has been breaking stories on the county beat since taking it over early this spring. Please join me in congratulating Molly on her excellent work so far and a new, challenging assignment ahead.

Meanwhile in DC: Chatter abounds that the L.A. Times bureau in Washington will be merged after the election with the other Tribune bureaus into a single, much smaller operation. Stay tuned for details there, including what becomes of LAT bureau chief Doyle McManus. The current betting is he becomes a senior writer in the bureau.

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