Russ Stanton's last memo to the LA Times staff

russstanton.jpgRuss Stanton, who stepped down today as editor of the Los Angeles Times, sent this note to the staff. A note from LAT president Kathy Thomson follows after the jump.


Four years ago, I stood before you on my first day as editor and said that we needed to sharpen our focus, expand the ways we distribute our journalism and restructure the newsroom to meet the demands of the digital age. Because of your willingness to adapt to a changing set of circumstances and learn new skills, here is what has transpired since that day:

--Your audience has grown to levels we never could have imagined -- more than 17 million readers a month around the world. In doing so, passed larger competitors such as the Wall Street Journal in terms of audience size and continues to grow at an impressive double-digit rate.

--Your world-class, award-winning journalism has taken on many new forms, including breaking online news reports, in-depth video and interactive databases. Reader engagement is at an all-time high.

--Your peers continue to recognize your work with an impressive line-up of accolades, including three Pulitzer Prizes, six Pulitzer finalists and literally hundreds of others awards.

Continued inside.

Your accomplishments are even more impressive considering that they came amid very difficult economy, structural changes to our business and a challenging competitive environment.

Along the way, more than 80 journalists have joined your ranks, including more than two dozen from the Minority Editorial Training Program, who bring different skills and experiences to our staff. And more than 40 people, half of them women, have joined the ranks of management, stepping up to help us navigate through this formidable transition.

As this year comes to a close and we prepare for 2012, Kathy and I have agreed that now would be a good time for a fresh set of eyes to lead our newsroom. My last day will be Friday, Dec. 23rd.

It has been a great privilege and honor to have served with all of you for the past 14 years and particularly during this challenging period in the Times’ long and storied history. I am fiercely proud of the news and features report that you produce each day.

I am very grateful for the hard work and personal sacrifices that you make on behalf of our readers. I will, of course, remain a loyal subscriber. And the continued success of the people who produce the Los Angeles Times, in all its forms, will remain utmost in my thoughts and in my heart.

And from Thomson:

Colleagues -

As you may know by now, Russ Stanton has decided to step down as editor effective December 23. I have appointed Davan Maharaj, Times managing editor for news, as Russ’ successor.

As I said when I addressed the newsroom staff earlier today and again in the attached press release, Russ has been an outstanding editor—he has helped transform the organization, expanded our audiences across multiple platforms and been a tireless champion of great journalism. He has been a mentor and a friend to many of you, and an insightful colleague willing to challenge conventional thinking. Our newsrooms have flourished under Russ’ leadership.

Davan is the ideal choice to succeed Russ and become the 15th editor of the Los Angeles Times. He has been with The Times for more than 20 years and served in a wide array of positions, with increasing responsibility. He was an excellent reporter, recognized widely for his investigative work, and he has been an outstanding editor, overseeing the Foreign, National, Metro, Sports and Business departments for almost four years. Davan has the talent, experience, energy and vision necessary to be able to step in immediately and continue our advancement in the digital age. I am looking forward to what lies ahead with Davan leading our newsroom.

Please join me in congratulating Russ on a remarkable career here and Davan on his new appointment and responsibilities.


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