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Monday, October 27, 2008


The Casualties

A partial cut list from today's Los Angeles Times layoffs is up at LA Observed.

Also not to be missed is maverick publisher Eddy Hartenstein's ill-timed note to staffers (posted on the same day the cuts were announced). The segue to happiness appears in the introductory paragraph: "The good news, however, is that we are continuing to reinvent this fine company so it will be around long into the future."

From the looks of the cuts, it would appear "reinvent" means undoing some of the recent reinventing.

Included on the list are:
• Accomplished writer, NPR book critic, blogger (and a very good friend) Veronique de Turenne, who was hired less than a year ago to help usher the LA Times into the digital age as its "lead blogger on a local news effort." (Here's one bit of "reinventing" they couldn't even give a year to grow.)

• Film critic Carina Chocano (not that this needs to be pointed out, but the LAT is the paper of record for the city in which the entertainment industry is based, and the paper is laying off one of its star film critics).

• Entertainment editor Maria Russo (an energizing editor respected by many, who left the NY Observer four years ago to come west and help improve the LAT, all so the publication could -- SURPRISE -- lay her off today).

Editor of the Real Estate Section Lauren Beale, who skillfully edited every cover story I ever wrote for her section at the LA Times. Never mind that the real estate market, and the associated stock-market crash and credit crisis will end up being the biggest story of 2008 for the nation, the state and the city of LA. Never mind that Los Angeles is as well known worldwide for its sprawl as for its lavish homes and valuable real estate. None of that stopped the LAT suits from axing the Real Estate section this past July, and now, unfortunately, Lauren too. (Lauren's blog post on the section's demise pointed out that real estate stories would continue to appear online and in both Sunday Business and the Saturday Home section. Losing Laura means the very talented people left behind will have far less time to do everything right, let alone well).*

• Literary and cultural reporter extraordinaire Scott Timberg (he's also written for Art Review, GQ, Men's Vogue, the Boston Phoenix, and Slate).

• DC reporter and author Stephen Braun.

• Pulitzer-winning photographer Annie Wells.

• The former fashion editor, who had most recently been filing obits, Mary Rourke (who stuck with the LAT despite being bumped around as they cut cut cut).

• Metro reporter John Mitchell (who, besides being a great reporter with an rare depth of knowledge about the city and its history, has often donated his time to help educate journalism students at UCLA's Daily Bruin).

... And the list keeps getting longer. In fact, it's still growing as I file this. My apologies to those I missed.

*UPDATE: After two weeks in employment limbo at the Times, Lauren Beale's name was struck from the layoff list and therefore she remains the paper's full-time Real Estate editor.

Click to e-mail TJ Sullivan in LA
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