Columnist Sandy Banks is taking the LA Times buyout

Sandy-Banks-zocalo.jpgSandy Banks at Zocalo Public Square event.

Longtime Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks confirmed today that she is joining the buyout takers. She is, apparently, the only one of the main California section columnists to be leaving. Her loss will be noticed in a big way, I suspect. She has been writing for the paper for 36 years, and had a column starting way back in the View features section. A lot of readers have followed her life arc and the experiences of raising African American girls in Los Angeles — and as a result of the personal details and tone in her columns, readers have grown to know her and her family. Banks also is the paper's lone black columnist and most prominent African American journalist, and that loss will be felt by many as well. She began at the Times as a reporter in the San Fernando Valley office and has also been an editor at the Times.

Here is what Banks is posting today.

After 36 years at the Los Angeles Times, I’ll be leaving next month to take advantage of the buyout.

I’ve been fortunate to learn from and lean on many wise, compassionate and talented journalists over the years. It will be hard to say goodbye to colleagues I respect and admire – and a newsroom that still makes me proud.

I’m not going to lament what’s happening to newspapers; times change, institutions must evolve. I’m confident the hard-working journalists in the Times’ newsroom will make sure it survives.

For me, it’s time for a new chapter. I don’t know what lies ahead. It’s hard to imagine doing anything else, but I’m looking forward to getting to know another side of myself.

I’m buoyed by what I’ve learned over the years -- from the subjects and the readers of my column – about resilience, generosity, creativity, listening to your heart and honoring your soul. What I will miss most is sharing their stories and their lives. I promise to carry and spread those lessons wherever I go.

Also, add to the list of prominent departures national correspondent David Zucchino, who is based in Raleigh/Durham. He confirmed he is leaving. Same for Paul Richter, a longtime staff writer in the Washington bureau.

Per the Times staff list, this will leave staffed national bureaus outside California only in Washington, Tucson and Houston, pending replacements of course.

Previous buyout coverage:
Buyout list at LA Times 'makes you want to cry'
LA Times buyouts: Lead Paris reporter, higher ed reporter and more
THR delivers a hit to LA Times entertainment coverage
LA Times editor note to buyouts: 'We will miss you'
List of Los Angeles Times buyout takers starting to mount
Bill Dwyre first LA Times columnist to say he's going

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