Jim Newton, chief of the Times' City-County bureau, gets the post of editor of the editorial pages, reporting to Publisher David Hiller. He replaces the prematurely departed Andrés Martinez. Newton took over local government news coverage in 2005 after returning from leave to finish his well-received book, Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made. Newsroom memo from Hiller:
I am very happy to announce that Jim Newton is our new editorial page editor.
Jim, currently our city-county bureau chief, is a California native and has spent much of his life covering and writing about the politics, government, and legal affairs of Los Angeles and the state. He is an exceptionally fine journalist and an acclaimed author, and is passionately interested and knowledgeable about the public life of this city and region. I literally could not think of anyone better than Jim to lead our editorial and opinion pages.
The editorial and opinion pages are and must always be among the most important pages in The Times. They are our institutional voice in the vital conversation we have with our readers, online users and the communities we serve. They illuminate the issues we face together; offer intellectual insight into the challenges of the city, state, nation and world; and lead and influence public opinion and actions. Our views will often (we hope) stir debate and provoke controversy. Our credibility and motivation must always be clear and beyond question - we are for the betterment and vitality of the people of the city and region.
As publisher, I am ultimately responsible for the editorial pages of The Times. But the voice of the paper is not mine, nor any individual's. It is the voice of the institution, imbued with the experience and responsibility of serving this great city for 125 years. Jim is extraordinarily well-suited to sustaining that authentic and articulate voice, and he brings to this job a track record as a strong and independent newsroom manager.
Jim joined the Los Angeles Times in 1989, and has spent much of the past two decades at the center of the state's recent history. He covered federal law enforcement and the Los Angeles Police Department from 1992 through 1997, a period that included the 1992 riots, the federal trial of the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, and the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. He also was the paper's lead reporter responsible for the mayoral administration of Richard J. Riordan during Riordan's second term. In 2001, he was named California government and politics editor, in charge of Los Angeles and Sacramento government coverage. Prior to joining The Times, Jim was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and before that Jim spent time at The New York Times, first clerking for senior columnist James Reston, and then working at the foreign desk in New York.
In taking on this leadership role, Jim will be deferring his plans to begin writing his next book, an examination of the Eisenhower Administration, until sometime in 2008. I greatly appreciate Jim's stepping up to answer the call to lead our editorial pages during these important times.
Please join me in congratulating Jim on this great news.
Update: Story on LATimes.com.