Last day at the LA Times for more veterans*

larry-gordon-paul-feldman.jpgLarry Gordon, left, and Paul Feldman. Photo by Iris Schneider.

December 31 is the final day at work for some of the longtime Los Angeles Times reporters and editors who volunteered to take the paper's recent buyout, which will see more than 80 newsroom staffers leave before all the exits are done after the Oscars. I'm told today is the New Year's Eve duty in the Los Angeles newsroom for Larry Gordon, most recently the reporter covering higher education, and foreign desk editor Paul Feldman. They are just about the last of a contingent of more than a half-dozen reporters hired at the Times in the 1980s who could trace their careers and friendship back to the Bergen Record in New Jersey. That group included two others who took the recent buyout, calendar editor Bret Israel and Washington reporter Paul Richter, and Janny Scott, for many years now a reporter at the New York Times. California reporter Bettina Boxall will be, I believe, the last of the Bergen Record cohort from the '80s still at the LAT.

Iris Schneider, the LA Observed contributor and former Times photographer who is married to Paul Feldman, notes that Gordon and Feldman have also been part of "the Jew Crew" who work nearly every Christmas Eve and Christmas, giving other staffers the holidays off at home. There is a sendoff on tap for later this afternoon in the newsroom.

Also, today is the last day at the Times for Washington bureau stalwart Richard A. Serrano. I don't know where he is going, but his last tweet makes it sound like he will be happy to get there.

Serrano has been the LAT's best-sourced reporter on the FBI and federal justice stories. Since the San Bernardino mass shootings alone, when Serrano broke news about the suspects out of Washington, a search of the Times database turns up 67 hits for Serrano. Think he will be missed a little? If others are checking out today, I'll add them when I get word.

* Update:Here's the farewell note that Feldman sent to the foreign correspondents whose calls he has taken from across the world, and to colleagues around the newsroom.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6

Could there be a more fitting day than New Year’s Eve to turn the page and begin a new chapter?

Yet, as my least favorite Beatle sang, it don’t come easy.

This newsroom has been my second home for nearly 33 years, and of more importance, the incredible employees who inhabit it have been my second family. (That’s, of course, not counting the staff photographer who long ago agreed to live with me and my idiosyncrasies and helped me raise two wonderful daughters).

Over the decades, the Times, journalism and the world itself have gone through many changes, good and bad. But some things have remained traditions here: the ability to make a difference and the fun one can have doing it.

As a reporter for nearly 15 years, I had the opportunity to write roughly 2,000 stories on earthquakes, serial murder trials, immigration, riots, politics…. And for every bit of breaking news and each investigative report on my beat, there was also the chance to explore the offbeat: from a Pope delivering his sermon toward the mound at Dodger Stadium to a pro beach volleyball strike where the players had but two demands - higher pay and softer balls.

Since 1997, the Times has also provided me with second, third and fourth lives. As an editor on the metro, features and foreign desks, I’ve been allowed to do what I probably do best: sit back, look at all the hard work others have done, and tell them what’s great – and not so great – about it. In so doing, I’ve had the privilege of helping supervise coverage of many of the biggest issues of our times, working with some of the best newspaper reporters in the world – and on the foreign desk, the best co-workers one could ever hope for.

I could conclude by paraphrasing John Belushi in Animal House: “42 years of daily journalism down the drain…Might as well join the f---- Peace Corps.”

But I won’t.

As far as I’m concerned, the cup remains half full, not half empty. Though if I have any advice for the younger reporters here, it is to ask a different question or three: What’s in that cup? Who put it there? Is it worth drinking?” “And if so, why isn’t it full?”

As the bright red placards on those L.A. Times news boxes say: “Think, Talk, Question.”

For anyone who wants to talk, you can reach me at [deleted]. I’ll be around, considering new work possibilities.

Good luck to all who have already left, all who are leaving, and all who remain. See you around the bend.

And Happy New Year.



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