Roxane Arnold is a senior projects editor who has been the lead editor on the Column One story that runs on the front page of the Los Angeles Times most days. They posted an opening for Column Editor about a week ago, and word about Arnold deciding to take retirement got around last week. Now here's Tuesday's email to the newsroom from managing editor Marc Duvoisin about her exit later this month.
Subject: About Roxane Arnold
To: The Staff
From: Marc Duvoisin, Managing Editor
One day very soon, a beloved and accomplished colleague will de-clutter her desk, flip off the light and head home on the Pasadena Freeway for the very last time.
It's true: Roxane Arnold is leaving the Los Angeles Times, and the bottomless candy jar is the least of what we'll all be missing.
In 34-plus years at The Times, Roxane has been a tenacious reporter, a graceful writer, an outstanding editor, a fierce upholder of standards and, for the last 11 years, the driving force behind Column One.
After an idyllic, Lake Wobegon childhood in St. Paul, Minn., Roxane got a degree in English from the University of Minnesota and made her way to Southern California, where she earned a master's in journalism at UCLA and landed a job at the South Bay Daily Breeze.
She joined The Times in 1978 and was a reporter and then an editor in the Southeast/Long Beach section, in Orange County and in Los Angeles. Among the memorable stories that appeared under her byline was a Page One obituary of Lucille Ball, who she described as a "leggy showgirl, model and B-grade movie queen" with "pumpkin hair and a genius for comedy."
Roxane had a hand in The Times' well-earned Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of the Rodney King riots and the Northridge earthquake. She became the state/specialist editor, and in 1997 she was named metro editor, a job in which she oversaw 130 reporters and editors in L.A., Riverside, San Diego, the Central Valley, Sacramento and San Francisco.
Since 2001, Roxane has been senior editor/projects, with primary responsibility for Column One. As has been said of baseball and the U.S. mail, the magic of Column One is that it's there every day. Roxane has made sure of that, at times singlehandedly. She has scoured budgets, cajoled editors, goaded and inspired writers. She has repaired and polished stories by the hundred.
Along the way, she found time to edit major projects, including Terry McDermott's series on the frontiers of brain research, Joe Mozingo's inquiry into his family's racial roots, and several Kurt Streeter specials, to name just a few.
Friday, Oct. 26, will be Roxane's last day in the newsroom. Sometime between now and then, stop by her office for some bubble gum, chocolate and conversation. Plans are being made for a suitable farewell. Stay tuned.
Other notable departures this year have included Sallie Hofmeister, who was arts and entertainment editor; Geraldine Baum, who was New York bureau chief; Lisa Fung, who oversaw the online side of arts coverage. The masthead at the Times has been padded out to its most names in recent memory, but there are just three women listed below editor Davan Maharaj: assistant managing editors Megan Garvey and Alice Short and op-ed editor Sue Horton. The first woman shows up nine entries below Maharaj (there are 12 men on the editorial side masthead.) The top of the paper's management is more of a boy's club than it has been in decades, though below the masthead level there have been some recent high-profile appointments such as business editor Marla Dickerson, books and culture editor Joy Press, and arts and entertainment editor Laurie Ochoa.