Two more Metro reporters are leaving the Los Angeles Times staff. They are Jason Song, who has been covering education, and Garrett Therolf, the former county beat reporter who has been focusing on children's and social services. Both are mid-career journalists — neither old-timers nor junior reporters in experience of the sort who are starting to make up a larger share of the Times reporting staff.
Song is heading to Great Public Schools Now, the LA education reform nonprofit, as director of communications, starting in September. "It wasn't an easy decision to leave the Times, especially since I grew up reading it and reporting for the paper was a dream job for me," Song told me. "But Great Public Schools Now was too good of an opportunity to pass up."
Therolf said he can't talk about his next gig yet, but I'm told it's in the Bay Area. "There will be an announcement soon," Therolf told me. The Metro staff is gathering for farewell drinks on Thursday at Spring Street Bar downtown.
Another departure took place a little bit ago: education reporter Zahira Torres, hired just last year, returned this month to her former newspaper, the El Paso Times, with a promotion to investigations editor. Here is what they are saying in El Paso. Torres wasn't the first Texas investigative journalist to leave the Times shortly after arriving. Last year, Brandi Grissom quit as Metro's enterprise editor less than a year after being hired from the Texas Tribune. She was billed here as a major get for the Times, but she left to run the capital bureau for the Dallas Morning News.
In the spring, the paper lost managing editor for strategy S. Mitra Kalita — another much-hyped hire who didn't stay long — to a digital position at CNN. Assistant managing editor John Corrigan left in June for a job with the Wall Street Journal in Asia. But it's not all outflow from the Times staff.
On the arrival side, the Times has newly hired Anna Phillips, a legal affairs and criminal justice reporter for the Tampa Bay Times. In announcing her hiring, Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin praised Phillips as having "great talent both for investigative work and for putting a human face on complex legal issues." In Los Angeles, however, she will be to assigned to cover LAUSD, at least for now. "Phillips will cover the nation’s second-largest public school system," the Times says. "She’s already covered the nation’s largest, New York City public schools, for Chalkbeat and for the New York Times." She left the NYT for a fulltime job in Tampa four years ago and began at the LA Times on August 1.
I also reported yesterday that Mike Bresnahan has left the LA Times sports staff after covering the Lakers for 12 years, and he has been replaced on the Lakers beat by another Texas journalist, Tania Ganguli from ESPN.com in Houston.
Earlier this summer, the Times added Adam Elmahrek, from the Voice of OC, to the county bureau in the downtown Hall of Administration. And Jazmine Ulloa was hired into the Sacramento bureau from the Austin American-Statesman — Texas again.