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LA Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine Out ‘Effective Immediately’

An open search for Pearlstine’s replacement is still underway

Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine is out “effective immediately,” according to a memo sent to staff on Monday by Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong.

“As Norm Pearlstine shared with the newsroom on Oct. 5, we’re conducting an open search for his successor as the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times. While our search continues, Norm is transitioning into a Senior Advisor role, reporting to me in my role as Executive Chairman, effective immediately,” Soon-Shiong wrote.

In the interim, Scott Kraft and Kimi Yoshino, two of the Times’ managing editors, will oversee “day-to-day operation of the newsroom” and report to Soon-Shiong. Sewell Chan, the editor of the editorial page section, will also report to Soon-Shiong.

Pearlstine’s departure comes after a tumultuous year in which the Times’ top editor was accused of verbally harassing a veteran reporter while dismissing concerns about “ethical lapses,” being so disengaged that he “falls asleep in important meetings” and faced pushback for the paper’s handling of diversity in its coverage and within its newsroom, as TheWrap previously reported. The paper was also embroiled in controversy over accusations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse against its food editor and the plagiarism and ethical impropriety of one of the paper’s prominent sports columnists.

In a separate memo to staff, Pearlstine said that while the search for his replacement was still underway, he believed his “work is done.”

“There are several people on staff who are ready to succeed me and several talented editors from elsewhere have also asked to be considered,” Pearlstine wrote. “Turnarounds inevitably confront unforeseen challenges, and The Times has had its share as we worked to separate ourselves from Tribune. What made it all worthwhile was the memorable journalism that all of you continue to produce under extraordinary working conditions.”

Read the full memo from Soon-Shiong below:

As Norm Pearlstine shared with the newsroom on Oct. 5, we’re conducting an open search for his successor as the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times. While our search continues, Norm is transitioning into a Senior Advisor role, reporting to me in my role as Executive Chairman, effective immediately. He will continue advising Michele and me on the search and other matters.

We cannot thank Norm enough for his contributions to the L.A. Times. As we became the new owners and needed to rapidly and thoughtfully revive this great American newspaper, Norm’s experience as a journalist and media executive proved invaluable. While we continue to work together, we want him to know that he leaves The Times a much better organization than when we set out on this journey together.

Times Managing Editors Scott Kraft and Kimi Yoshino will now be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the newsroom, reporting to me. Sewell Chan, Editor of the Editorial Pages, will also report to me.

As is the case currently, Scott, Kimi and Sewell will work in partnership with President and COO Chris Argentieri, Chief Human Resources Officer Nancy Antoniou, and other members of the leadership team, as appropriate. Anna Magzanyan, my Chief of Staff, continues to lead revenue development for the organization, and Jeff Light continues to lead The San Diego Union-Tribune as Publisher and Editor in Chief.

We’re fortunate that we have a strong leadership team in place, both in the newsroom and across the company. We will continue the search to find the right candidate to serve as the next editor of the Los Angeles Times and provide an update when we have more news to share.

Thank you, all, for the work you do each day to inform, engage and inspire our loyal readers, new subscribers and the community as a whole.

With respect and gratitude,

Patrick

And read the full memo from Pearlstine below:

Dear Colleagues,

From the day Pat and Michele asked me to join The Times as Executive Editor, my goal was to put a team in place that could assure The Times’ revival.

Although work on finding my successor has just begun, I believe my work is done. There are several people on staff who are ready to succeed me and several talented editors from elsewhere have also asked to be considered.

Turnarounds inevitably confront unforeseen challenges, and The Times has had its share as we worked to separate ourselves from Tribune. What made it all worthwhile was the memorable journalism that all of you continue to produce under extraordinary working conditions.

It has been a privilege and an honor to work with all of you, with our colleagues in every other department, whose support is too easily taken for granted, and, especially, to Pat and Michele, whose continued commitment to public service journalism and to investing in new ways of telling stories convince me that the best is yet to come.

Best wishes and best regards,

Norm