Read the memo: New pop music editor at the L.A. Times

Lorraine Ali is the new pop music editor for the Los Angeles Times, where she began writing for the longtime pop music editor Robert Hilburn. She has since been a critic for Rolling Stone and Newsweek. Ali begins Tuesday, succeeding Randall Roberts. Her bio is in the memo after the jump.

From: Hofmeister, Sallie
Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 XX:XX PM
To: yyeditall

Lorraine Ali, a veteran reporter, critic and columnist on pop music and culture, is joining the Arts and Entertainment group as pop music editor, beginning Tuesday, Oct. 18.

Lorraine will succeed Randall Roberts, who was named pop music critic in June and will serve as her deputy going forward. She will oversee all breaking news, reviews and features. She will report to Craig Turner, Arts and Entertainment editor.

In a sense, Lorraine is coming full circle, as she began her career as a music writer in Calendar under Robert Hilburn in the mid-1990s. She also has worked as a senior critic for Rolling Stone and spent much of the last decade at Newsweek, both in New York and Los Angeles, covering music, pop culture and society. Her editing duties at Newsweek included overseeing teams of reporters on special projects and exclusive stories.

During her years on the beat, Lorraine has interviewed, among others, Johnny Cash, the Rolling Stones, M.I.A., Jay-Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Eminem and Alan Jackson. She has shopped the flea markets of Mexico City with the White Stripes, taken DJ lessons from Fatboy Slim and tried on “show coats” while browsing the closets of Loretta Lynn. She has also been interviewed extensively, with significant TV and radio experience to her credit.

Her career has transcended pop culture. While at Newsweek, she wrote cover stories on “The Secret Lives of Surrogates” and on a custody battle between two moms, “Mrs. Kramer vs. Mrs. Kramer.” She has reported from Havana, Damascus and Calabria, Italy, where she dined with Mafia dons and lived to tell about it. After the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Lorraine covered the impact of the war on Arab Americans. Her book about reconnecting with the Iraqi half of her family is scheduled for publication next year.

Lorraine’s freelance work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, the Village Voice, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal and in the books “Da Capo Best Music Writing” (2001), “The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock: Trouble Girls” (1997) and “Cobain” (1996).

A native Angeleno, Lorraine lives in Eagle Rock with her husband, 8-year-old son and their pit bull, Delilah.

In addition to recommending music, Lorraine also may offer colleagues auto tips. She once wrote a car column, You Are What You Drive, for an alternative bimonthly and spent a summer school break working as a “tire change technician” for Sears Automotive. Please join us in welcoming her.

Sallie Hofmeister, assistant managing editor, Arts and Entertainment
Craig Turner, Arts and Entertainment editor

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