LA Times restaffs the Business desk

jean-merls desk.jpgA bought-out reporter's pod at the Los Angeles Times.

In last year's Los Angeles Times buyout, in which as many as 92 staffers may have left under the latest informal counts by ex-employees, the Business news desk looks to have been the hardest hit unit. According to former staffers, five of the 8 desk editors, and about a third of the Business staff overall, left around the end of the year and the start of 2016. Not all took the buyout: as I reported before, health industry reporter Chad Terhune was turned down for the buyout and left anyway to join Kaiser Health News

Now comes the rebuilding. This week the Times announced it has hired a new deputy business editor from the Orange County Register, Dan Beucke, and a new technology editor, Ben Muessig, from the San Francisco Chronicle. From the postings on them:

Beucke is a veteran, award-winning financial journalist who has run business sections at three different newspapers: the Orange County Register, New York Newsday and the San Jose Mercury News. Most recently, he was the Register’s assistant managing editor in charge of Sunday, enterprise and investigations.

Prior to returning to Orange County, where he grew up, Beucke spent 15 years at BusinessWeek in New York, where he had several different editing roles, including news editor and senior tech editor.


Muessig comes to The Times from the San Francisco Chronicle, where he has spent the last two years as business and technology editor. He edited some of the paper’s most memorable recent work, including data dives into Airbnb's operations in its hometown, an interactive on the effects of gentrification on San Francisco's Mission District and a narrative about farm laborers who lost work in California's drought.

Prior to moving to the West Coast, Muessig was a deputy editor of features at the New York Daily News, deputy editor of the Brooklyn Paper and an associate editor at Huffington Post.

Sounds as if the Times is continuing to recruit hires in several areas. I already reported the adds this month of state political editor Allison Wisk and Sacramento reporter Liam Dillon.

There are also new baseball writers on the Dodgers and the Angels, and it looks as if the long-rumored Dylan Hernandez column has begun in Sports, at least on the web. He was the Dodgers beat writer for several years. His first couple of columns online seem to pair two sports topics, such as Lakers coach Byron Scott's future and the return of Yasiel Puig's adult babysitter, but he also gives sports writer-style culinary advice to anyone heading to spring training in Arizona.

Pizzeria Bianco ranks among the best-known pizza parlors in the country. On the other side of downtown is Cibo, a personal favorite of Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier.

Other places worth visiting include the Parlor, La Grande Orange and Spinato's.

On his official Times bio page, he's still "the Dodgers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times." Those pages often lag behind.

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