Our Friday newsroom buzz about the Los Angeles Daily Journal closing its Washington bureau was half wrong (or half right, if you prefer.) As the memo from editor David Houston says, one of the two D.C. reporter slots is going away, and with it reporter Robert Iafolla.
We are constantly assessing our beats to ensure we focus our resources on our core mission. That is especially important to do in tough times. Sadly, I have determined we no longer can support a two-person bureau in Washington, D.C. Our resources are better served here in California. Therefore, on May 31, Robert Iafolla will leave the paper.
This is not a happy occasion for this newspaper or for me personally. Robert started with the Daily Journal as a newly minted journalist from the graduate program at USC. Right away, he was a star, first on the law firm beat and then on the Los Angeles federal court beat. Then, Robert decided he wanted to move to the Washington bureau. True to his character, he has worked hard to distinguish himself covering Congress and the Executive Branch. When Robert and I began discussions about downsizing the D.C. bureau, I encouraged him to return to California to continue to work for the Daily Journal. We eventually had to agree to disagree; Robert simply does not see the West Coast’s superiority to the East Coast.
After Robert has departed, I expect Lawrence Hurley will expand his beat from the U.S. Supreme Court but it won’t nearly fill the gap. I expect that reporters in California will take on more Washington stories if they fit into your beats.
I have also decided to fold the immigration beat back into the federal court beats. Sandra Hernandez has agreed to take over the criminal justice beat for Greg Katz, who is leaving the Daily Journal next week. Sandra has many great contacts in immigration law. I encourage federal reporters (Ciaran McEvoy, Rebecca Beyer and John Roemer) to seek her guidance to ensure we don’t lose that resource. Similarly, I encourage all of you, especially in Northern California, to communicate with Sandra often to help her get to know the players in criminal law throughout the state.
Finally, we are creating a labor & employment beat to cover the continuing explosion of those cases in California. I will have an announcement later this week about who will take that beat. Other things you will see in the next few weeks: video on our website and the opening of a Palo Alto office.
A follow-up memo sent out today has some more beat details and a job opening, after the jump.
Here's an update to my email last week: Catherine Ho has agreed to create a statewide beat focused on labor & employment and Rebecca Cho is taking over coverage of the state civil court in Los Angeles County. This means we are in the market for a reporter to cover law firm business. We are also interviewing for a reporter to cover Sacramento. If you know a good candidate for either of these positions, encourage them to send a resume and clips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The changes will be fazed in over the next few weeks. I hope that all of you will reach out to Catherine and Rebecca with story ideas or possible sources as they work to get acclimated to their new beats.
Our Palo Alto office is on track to open April 1. At the beginning, Craig Anderson and Jill Redhage will take turns staffing it. However, our aim is to have a fulltime staffer there by the end of the year.