How LA Times coverage of Archdiocese documents came together

latentrance.jpgThe two top editors of the Los Angeles Times sent the staff a memo on Friday afternoon giving kudos to the team that scurried to cover Thursday's late-breaking release of sexual abuse files by the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Reporter Harriet Ryan is their star of the story.

Subject: FW: Message from Davan Maharaj and Marc Duvoisin

To the staff:

Harriet Ryan was celebrating her birthday with her husband and daughter at a Mexican cantina on Fourth Street last night when her smart phone buzzed with a news alert:

The Los Angeles archdiocese, way ahead of schedule, had just made public a huge trove of long-secret files on priest abuse of children.

And Archbishop Jose Gomez, expressing disgust at the “evil” conduct described in the files, had stripped his predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, of all public duties with the church.

Harriet did what any working mother would do while enjoying a rare night out with her family: She left the restaurant and headed straight for the newsroom.

There, she found Victoria Kim in a controlled frenzy of reporting, putting out calls and downloading the just-released files. Over the next few hours, Harriet and Vic, with help from a band of devoted colleagues, pulled together a remarkably complete, authoritative and flowing account of this latest astonishing turn in the church molestation scandal.

Ashley Powers, Jack Leonard, Robert Faturechi and Hector Becerra also scrapped their plans for the night to work the phones and pore over the files, fortifying themselves with lukewarm take-out pizza. Joe Serna rushed out to several churches to gather reaction from stunned parishioners.

Matt Lait and Shelby Grad oversaw and edited the package of stories.

That, in a nutshell, is how the Los Angeles Times was able to deliver to readers the most complete account of last night’s bombshell to be found anywhere.

This kind of professionalism and dedication to duty isn’t unusual for The Times. But it certainly is inspiring.

Our deepest thanks to everyone involved.

Davan and Marc

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