This memo sent around the Los Angeles Times newsroom is partly interesting for what news priorities are revealed in it, and partly for who sent it. For the LA Times Kremlinologists out there, the memo is from Mitra Kalita, one of three managing editors but the newest hired and the one with the most digital experience, and the title of managing editor for editorial strategy.
It was a great week of journalism. Some highlights:
Schooled. We launched our new education section, and the storytelling has been so creative (and cute). This video notably tapped into our photographers across the city and used data to broaden the message. We also captured the first day of LA Unified schools as it progressed, from Snapchats of classrooms to details on IT-related complaints (just 24 of 'em). Traffic to our “schools” section went up tenfold last week.
Straight into Compton. We continue to dominate coverage of the blockbuster biopic “Straight Outta Compton.” This has been a team effort pulling across talents in Metro and Calendar, but two noteworthy threads: Gerrick D. Kennedy’s reveal that Dr. Dre’s assault on Dee Barnes was in the original screenplay and ongoing coverage of the film’s performance at the box office, including Atlanta’s haul and this weekend’s topping $100 million.
Fired up. Our coverage of the wildfires in Washington has been distinctive and has combined great writing and on-the-ground reportage from National’s Matt Pearce, Maria L. La Ganga and William Yardley.
The talker. Workplaces across the country were abuzz after last week’s New York Times story on Amazon. David Horsey’s cartoon was a great example of seizing on the conversation, forcing readers to look inward and thinking of shareability at the outset.
When Matt met Tay. You’ve heard by now: Drought reporter Matt Stevens met Taylor Swift on Friday night. But before that, there was tweeting and snapchatting. I encourage you to check out his feed for a great example of how we can bring live events to, well, life. This was no Twitter stenography and really captured, through details and interviews, Taylor Swift’s first night at Staples Center. This gem on a 70-something man from Utah got more than 300 retweets, for example. Besides Matt’s first-person pieces before and after, our overall coverage of the concerts has been smart and timely, with a quick take up and more detailed reviews later. Kudos to Lorraine Ali, Mikael Wood and Randall Roberts.
The opinions that really matter. I met three nonjournalists, on three separate occasions over the weekend, who conveyed praise for improved real-estate coverage, the explanation of California politicians and their role on the Iran nuclear deal, and stories on the Trans-Pacific Partnership that they can’t get elsewhere.
Thanks for reading, writing, editing, tweeting, shooting, thinking. We’re making great strides and readers are noticing.
Kalita has a more developed and wide-ranging Twitter feed than the other senior managers at the Times — a mix of the personal and professional. Some recent tweets:
A few of my favorite things collide in THIS: feminism, media, philanthropy, Manhattan real estate, having it all http://t.co/Es9Ly7mjNT— S. Mitra Kalita (@mitrakalita) August 22, 2015
This is kind of amazeballs https://t.co/wBLG5i8Chr— S. Mitra Kalita (@mitrakalita) August 18, 2015