Friday was the last day at the paper for Times Poll director Susan Pinkus and assistant director Jill Darling. The latter sent around the newsroom an email saying the poll's voluminous data now resides in the Times' editorial library (or what's left of the once-impressive research unit.) From Darling's email:
My turn to say goodbye to a job I loved, twenty years of satisfying, engrossing and ever-changing work as one of a rare and endangered breed - a Newspaper Pollster. I am sad to be leaving, but proud of the three-decade body of work that the Times Poll is leaving behind, and grateful to have had the chance to be an integral part of a team of dedicated and caring colleagues who approached with rigorous care every one of our simple or complex survey projects, knowing that the results would be published in the Los Angeles Times....
Over three decades, The Los Angeles Times Poll added context to the tax revolt and civil rights movements of the 1970s; The LAPD, Reagonomics, the Cold War, AIDS, and child abuse in the 1980s; In the 90's, we went to shelters to speak to people made homeless after the Northridge quake, asked Roman Catholic priests and Nuns to tell us about their lives and beliefs and surveyed priests again after the child-abuse scandals broke. We checked in on OJ, on Rodney King, Clarence Thomas, the Starr Report, the blue dress, impeachment, and air strikes on Kosovo. In conjunction with surveys done in the United States, we surveyed in Nicaragua, Russia, Israel and Mexico. We surveyed in-depth too many groups to list, for example Asian populations, Latinos, African Americans, women, journalists, small business owners, convention delegates, teachers, parents and public school children. During election years in all decades, we have helped the reporters ferret out the stories behind the simple horserace numbers. Those who have worked with us know what is being set aside.
And a return: Mike Hiltzik, one of the Times' best columnists (and bloggers) before he got caught using a fake name in the blogosphere in 2006, is a columnist for the Business section once again. He lost his column, was suspended and exiled to Sports over the ethics flap, which prompted then-editor Dean Baquet to rule that Hiltzik "could no longer write credibly about duplicity in the business world." No mention of the blemish in Business Editor Sallie Hofmeister's note. Patterico, however, jumps all over it. Patterico and Hiltzik had clashed personally back then, but Patterico and many other commentators wrote that while the exposure was embarrassing to Hiltzik, it shouldn't cost him his job.