L.A. Observed

Memo on Sunday Calendar editor by John Montorio, Los Angeles Times
deputy managing editor for features, August 6, 2003


I have some important news to pass along. As many of you know, Kelly Scott will be departing next week for a year-long fellowship at Stanford. She's been a superb member of our team. Her loss leaves a huge void in our editing corps, given how significant Sunday Calendar is to the paper and to our readers. After thinking long and hard about how to replace Kelly, I came to the conclusion that the best editor for this job was right here in our own department -- Bret Israel. And as of August 18th, I'm reassigning him to be our new Sunday Calendar editor.

Not only will he be brilliant in this role, but I've also come to think that the needs of the department have changed considerably over the last several months. The position of senior Calendar editor, a job I created to help us through a potentially chaotic transitional period in Features, now strikes me as a luxury this short-staffed department can no longer afford. The fact that I've made this decision, however, should in no way diminish the value of the contributions that Bret has made in this role. It was his skill and energy, both as a manager and editor, that helped get us through the Calendar launch so successfully and solidified the Calendar operation. Fortunately, things are running smoothly enough now to allow us more flexibility in deploying our editing talent.

In fact, this is the first in a handful of editing assignments that I am reconsidering as time goes on.

Obviously, there will be a remaining need for coordinating the various Calendars and for general oversight. Those responsibilities will fall largely to Rick Flaste, in addition to his many other chores.

I'm so pleased that Bret has agreed to take on the new assignment. And I've also asked him to shepherd some of our large projects into the paper, whether or not they are meant for Sunday. In addition, I expect him to continue his excellent work in recruiting for our department. And, of course, by asking Bret to edit Sunday Calendar, I by no means wish to discourage anyone from continuing to seek his wise editing counsel.

I'm confidant [sic] that this new arrangement is going to work well.

Cheers, John

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