LANG names key editor for photography and visual journalism

The year-end memo from Michael Anastasi, vice president and executive editor of the Los Angeles News Group, announces the promotion of senior editor Kim Guimarin and suggests that photos and graphics will get more attention in the planning of projects. "Photo, in other words, will have a seat at the table," Anastasi says.

Michael A. Anastasi
Vice President & Executive Editor
Los Angeles News Group
Dec. 27, 2012

Colleagues,

As you know, we began the process of restructuring our organization to function operationally as a single newsroom a few months ago. We’ve made significant changes at the top, significant changes with our infrastructure and have continued to evolve in ways big and small.

That evolution continues with several announcements in the next few weeks, including today, but I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished.

Despite operating in what continues to be a stressed financial environment for our industry, we’ve continued to see substantive digital growth as we’ve already nearly hit our targets for the entire fiscal year. And we’ve been holding our own in print – LANG reported a combined circulation number of 451,318 daily (which would rank ninth nationally) and 507,757 on Sunday.

We continue to work more closely with our colleagues in the Bay Area and NorCal, and each day we become more integrated with the Thunderdome team in New York. Just last week a team of our reporters and editors met with editors from the T-dome data team to launch the planning of a major and exciting investigative effort.

We’ve moved full speed ahead and have implemented or are implementing a slew of initiatives. Our Futures Committee completed its meetings and a Content Strategy document is in the works. Our new LANG ethics and professional standards guidelines also are in the final stages.

The conversion of our content management system to Saxtotech, the launch of our print redesign and the launch of our web design is scheduled for early 2013 and on track. We’ve rolled out slick new iPad apps across all of our titles with audience growing rapidly, have launched a 90-day test of the new social media tool Tout, and are scheduled to open Community Engagement Centers in Pasadena and San Bernardino by February.

Our journalism continues to be impressive. Just a few of the things I think of from the past few weeks include Brian Sumers’ coverage of the ports strike, Kelly Puente’s look at the legacy of Charles B. Reed (a piece that ran not only ran in LANG but throughout all of California), Rob Kuznia and Barb Jones’ examination of the controversy and challenges for children classified as English language learners in the state, Doug Saunders’ coverage of the alleged terrorists in the Inland Empire and separately his exposure of a botched police investigation in Ontario, Kelsey Duckett’s coverage of the Downey shooting, Mariecar Mendoza’s story that saved a senior center’s Christmas tree after going viral and drawing a million page views and our special Veterans Day package by a visuals team led by Rick Sforza and Dean Musgrove.

Whew!

You are working hard and at breakneck speed. I thank you, and am grateful for the support of your families, and hope you are able to take a moment to reflect on all that you have achieved this past year.

As part of our ongoing efforts to position our team for success in 2013, we have a number of staffing changes and initiatives to announce. The first:

I’m pleased to announce the following:

Senior editor Kim Guimarin takes on a larger role in LANG. She will oversee the photography and visuals journalism for the group with photo editors Dean Musgrove, Rick Sforza and Chuck Bennett reporting to her. Simultaneously, Dean will expand his role to include supervision of the West Covina staff.

Placing our photojournalists under one leadership structure is a logical step in our LANG evolution. Kim will work with Chuck, Rick and Dean to focus on integrating our staffs in order to leverage our numbers and talent while enhancing our community reach.
Expanding Dean’s role makes sense with both Chuck and Rick already overseeing photojournalists in multiple regions.

Photojournalism is enormously important to our digital growth and this will ensure we’re operating under a single comprehensive plan. I’ll also be challenging Kim and her team for photo to become more initiative driven and less of a service desk. That will mean more breaking news and enterprise photography, more photography specifically for our digital platforms, more projects such as the recent Veterans Day package that was primarily a visual story, and to become more aggressive participants in the assignment and design processes.

Photo, in other words, will have a seat at the table.

Meanwhile, Kim is also expanding her role to include a higher-level place in our reporting operation. Though it is Carolina and Steve’s roles to manage planning and to help facilitate the execution of the daily LANG report, there are many occasions when they are stretched thin as our organization charges forward on so many fronts. Kim’s job will be to step up and fill those gaps as they appear.

It’s especially important as we transition to a more rigorous planning process at the first of the year. We’ve introduced and mastered our weekend planning and enjoyed some level of success on weekdays. Now it’s time to step up and nail it every day in order to ensure our readers receive the highest quality journalism we can possibly deliver.

Congratulations to Kim!
--Mike



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