LA Times buyouts: Lead Paris reporter, higher ed reporter and more

I have more confirmed names of veteran journalists leaving the Los Angeles Times. For most of the 50+ reporters, editors and photographers who will end up taking the buyout, or using the opportunity to retire, the final day at work is Nov. 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Some, however, will be staying beyond and into the new year to help with the transition on their beats. As more plans firm up and become confirmed, I will post them.

henry-chu-twitter.jpgHenry Chu, the London bureau chief who was the first LA Times journalist on the scene at last week's Paris massacres, confirmed today via email that he is taking the buyout. Chu is the last LA Times staffer assigned to a European capital on the staff list; that doesn't mean he won't be replaced by someone, but for now he's it. The Times used to be in London, Paris, Rome, Moscow and in assorted trouble spots and war zones all at the same time, as well as in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Mexico City is currently vacant too, though last I heard Patrick McDonnell is moving there from Beirut.

Chu previously was based in China, Brazil and India and recently completed a Nieman fellowship at Harvard. He is also, I think, the senior in-house alumnus of the Times' Metpro internship program, which was created a few decades ago to bring more minorities into journalism, and which I'd have to say has succeeded in doing that (though most of the graduates now work somewhere besides the LA Times.) Chu gives a nod to the program in his note to the newsroom today.

From: Chu, Henry
Sent: Friday, November 20, 2015 11:24 AM
Subject: Farewell

Colleagues and friends:

I've probably written more than a million words for this great paper over the past 25 years; these are among the hardest.

From the day I arrived at Times Mirror Square as a wide-eyed METPRO, I've been privileged to work alongside some of the most talented, outstanding journalists in the world. I'm especially grateful to everyone on the Foreign Desk over the years, who could erase with a simple phone call and a cheerful word the isolation of being half a world away.

Now it's time to say goodbye. But the LA Times will always be part of me….

Fight the good fight. I'll be cheering for you in London.


At least a couple of editors on the foreign desk he refers to have also been accepted for the buyout and received their final dates. The terms of the buyout allow staffers to change their mind apparently right up to the last day, so I'm only reporting on those who say they are indeed going and won't be rescinding.

Larry Gordon, the paper's longtime higher education reporter, confirmed today he is taking the buyout. He was feted in a statement read by University of California president Janet Napolitano at the UC Regents meeting in Oakland yesterday. "Although we might not have always agreed, I want to thank him for his excellent reporting and fair coverage,” Napolitano said, in part. Gordon tells me he will be staying until January. "Nothing has been settled yet on a replacement," he says via email. "I don’t know yet what I will be doing next, possibly a combination of writing and teaching."

Karin Klein, an editorial writer and member of the paper's editorial board, confirmed via email that she is leaving as Nov. 25. "This was a tough decision for me; I love writing editorials, which is what I've done for more than half my years at The Times," she says. Among other pursuits, Klein plans to revise her book, "50 Hikes in Orange County," for a second edition to be published by WW Norton in February 2016, and work with her agent and a partner on a book about the high cost of college admissions. She also will continue to teach opinion writing at Chapman University.

Says Klein:

It would be a mistake to deny or underestimate the smartness of the people who remain at this paper or what goes into the work they produce. My colleagues on the editorial board are among the finest, most thoughtful minds (and best people) I've ever known.

bret-israel-twitter.jpgBret Israel, the editor of the Sunday Calendar section, told me today he is editing his last section next week after more than a dozen years. Like all of these veteran staffers, Israel's resume at the paper is long. He's been an editor in Metro, National and in several roles on the features side, including overseeing the daily and Sunday Calendar sections, arts coverage, and the critics. Israel also was editor of the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine. "After 40 years of newspapering, this is an excellent time for me to move on," Israel said. He tweets @BretIsrael.

Martha Groves, the Times' reporter who covers issues on the Westside of LA, announced to her contact list this week that she too is leaving on Nov. 25, after 34 years at the Times. She is a former Business section editor and reporter who was based in San Francisco for the Times for many years. She says she is passing the Westside beat to Nita Lelyveld, who currently writes the City Beat stories for the Times' Metro desk. Groves emailed that she is "moving on to new adventures in hiking, traveling, singing and yoga-ing. I also plan to do freelance writing and editing."

William Nottingham, the Deputy City-County Bureau Chief, has worked in several sections since joining the staff in 1985 and now helps to oversee the coverage of City Hall and the Board of Supevisors.

In addition, there are a number of longtime staffers who are mostly behind the scenes but who have helped keep the paper coming out during tumultuous times. Claire Noland, a newsletter editor, is the Times' former obituary editor and previously on the Sports desk. Kathie Bozanich is a senior copy editor on the Sports desk with almost 30 years at the Times. Cindy Hively is the longtime photo editor in Calendar.

I previously noted the impending exit of longtime foreign correspondent Carol Williams and the retirement of Sports columnist Bill Dwyre. In an LA Observed post on Tuesday, I reported the confirmed departure plans of Sports stalwarts Chris Dufresne and Chris Foster, Las Vegas correspondent John Glionna, politics writer Jean Merl, food columnist Russ Parsons and fashion critic Booth Moore. Here's an interview with Parsons on this weekend's "Off-Ramp" on KPCC.

Separately, deputy entertainment editor Joe Bel Bruno jumped this week to be news director at the Hollywood Reporter.

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