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LA Weekly Editor Shakeup: Drex Heikes Departs, Sarah Fenske Takes Over (Updated)

The former LA Times and Las Vegas Sun Editor told his staff he was leaving on Monday just before Village Voice Media announced his successor

LA Weekly has a new editor-in-chief.

Sarah Fenske, formerly of the Riverfront Times in St. Louis, has taken over for Drex Heikes as the new top editor of the alternative weekly, parent company Village Voice Media announced Monday.

Heikes, the alternative weekly’s top editor since 2009, told his staff Monday that he is leaving his post and taking a break from journalism.

"It's been a great run, but I'm in a luxurious position right now to be able to take some time," Heikes told The Wrap.

"I never took this job expecting it to last forever," he added. "I've never worked at an [alternative] weekly. I'm a mainstream guy. This kind of fell into my lap."

Heikes' desire to spend time with his family in Los Angeles spurred his initial decision to take the helm of the L.A.-focused weekly, and the same motivation inspired his departure.

Heikes said he told the Village Voice several weeks ago about his decision, which gave them time to find a replacement before he made his departure official.

Fenske is joining the LA Weekly after stints at other Village Voice outlets. Most recently she was the managing editor at St. Louis' Riverfront Times and before that she was a columnist at the Phoenix New Times.

She inherits a publication that Heikes says has been adding readers in print and online.

Alternative weeklies on the whole have been struggling to stay afloat with the movement of listings and classified advertising to the Internet. However, Heikes denied any reports that the publication is in trouble.

He said the paper is "healthy, vigorous and in a good spot" as it takes advantage of a market lacking in print competition.