L.A. Times editor-at-large Jim Newton is now teaching a course in journalism ethics at UCLA, part of his appointment as a senior fellow in the School of Public Affairs. In last week's first class session, he made a case study out of the episode that led to him getting his previous job as LAT editor of the editorial pages: the time in 2007 when his predecessor, Andres Martinez, let Hollywood producer Brian Grazer guest-edit the Times' weekly opinion section. What began as a controversial, and basically just lame, exercise in "out of the box thinking" grew into huge proportions when it was learned that Martinez's girlfriend at the time, Kelly Mullens, had been Grazer's PR rep at times and had her name on some of the activity around the Times section. After then-publisher David Hiller killed the
already-printed prepared-but-not-yet-printed section, Martinez resigned — with a broad attack on the paper where he once had been viewed as a rising star.
That was one of the wildest, wackiest episodes in an almost unbelievably stormy year at the L.A. Times — made only stranger when Martinez later sued Mullens, which led to the disclosure that she had obtained a restraining order against Martinez for some creepy obsessiveness on his part.
After the jump, UCLA Newsroom video of Newton's class.