Two veteran LA Times editors sign out, and one returns

On the outbound side are Calendar section stalwarts Lee Margulies and Sherry Stern, who stuck it out long enough (37 years for Margulies) to be able to retire. Both made it known several weeks ago that they were leaving at the end of the year. On the staff list, Margulies is currently listed as the night editor in Arts and Entertainment, and Stern is a deputy arts and culture editor. Margulies' newsroom departure note is below; he salutes his colleagues for continuing to produce a daily newspaper and calculates he has been part of 13,654 editions of the Times.

scott-martelle-mug.jpgGoing the other way is Scott Martelle, who says on Facebook he will rejoin the Times on Jan. 20 as an editorial writer. His career has followed an interesting recent path. After covering Orange County and the literary beat for the Times, he was laid off in 2008 while he was covering the presidential campaign. "It's a bit disconcerting to be told you're expendable, especially after a solid evaluation and a healthy merit raise in the midst of an historic presidential campaign (my current assignment), but these are strange times indeed," he wrote at the time. Martelle then co-started The Journalism Shop, a service to connect laid-off Times writers and others with freelance gigs, and a Yahoo group for ex-Times staffers. He also has been writing books and freelance magazine pieces and blogging for Truthdig.

"On one level, this feels quite bizarre, but on a larger (higher?) level this is exciting for me," Martelle writes. "Writing editorials is one of the very few things I haven't done yet (except for some college stuff) in a journalism career that began when I was 16 and writing a high school sports column for a local weekly in Wellsville, New York. So once more back into the fray."

By the way, the others currently listed as LA Times editorial writers are Michael McGough, Kerry Cavanaugh, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey and Karin Klein.

Margulies' newsroom note:

Friends and colleagues,

I’ve been saying goodbye for the past month in conversations, emails and a mini-speech, so I’m not sure what’s left to say. Except, perhaps, this:

I’ve been on the arts and entertainment staff since joining the Times in 1976. Throughout that time, a staple of our coverage has been the story about the triumph of the actor/author/producer/artist/filmmaker/director/singer/dancer in getting their new production before the public.

Yet if truth be known, we ourselves are part of a production that is just as impressive and all the more amazing for coming out every single day: the newspaper.

Think about it: Hundreds of journalists, editors, photographers, designers and artists – and, more recently, web producers -- combining their intelligence, savvy and myriad talents to try to make sense of this chaotic world, impart some knowledge, some insight, some enlightenment, perhaps a laugh or two, and maybe right a few wrongs along the way. Day after day after day. In an ever-expanding range of formats.

I salute you. And that goes especially for an endless string of wonderful colleagues here in Calendar who have inspired, sustained and entertained me. I will miss you.

Thank you to everyone who let me be part of this noble enterprise for so long. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have been part of the team that produced the last 13,654 editions of the L.A. Times. Long may it continue.


Stern also saluted her colleagues, looking back "after 24 years at The Times and 35-plus in journalism."

First I tip my cap to key people who most influenced my career: Joe Saltzman, Blair Charnley, the late Bob Epstein, John Lindsay, John Montorio and (of course) C.P. Smith.

Plus a huge note of gratitude to the people I have worked alongside in Calendar and who have made it such a special place. I started to name you, but the list got too long. You are talented, smart and funny.

I leave with incredible admiration for Kelly Scott and the entire arts team -- they continue to do consequential journalism even as their ranks and resources diminish. I want to specifically mention Mark Swed, the writer I’ve worked the closest with over the past five years. He is an editor’s dream and brings as much passion and expertise to his work as anyone on this paper’s talented staff.

Finally, I can’t leave without acknowledging LAT copy editors and designers, perennially overworked and making the rest of us look good every day.

I’ll think of you all every day when I pick up the Los Angeles Times on my driveway.

Photo of Scott Martelle from his website

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