LA Times taps ESPN’s Kevin Merida as new executive editor

The Los Angeles Times named former ESPN executive Kevin Merida its new executive editor on Monday, making him the primary individual of colour to move the newsroom in its 140-year historical past.

Merida, a 64-year-old veteran of the Washington Post along with Disney’s ESPN sports activities community, had been lengthy rumored to be the entrance runner within the race to succeed Norm Pearlstine, who stepped down formally in December and had been concerned within the seek for a alternative.

Merida takes over a newsroom that has been roiled by inside turmoil tied to problems with race, as effectively as a pandemic that sliced into advertising and circulation. The firm revealed it had been hit with losses of $50 million in 2020 when it introduced in March it had landed a $10 million federal loan underneath the Paycheck Protection Program.

Indeed, the choice course of was sophisticated this spring when a report surfaced that LA Times proprietor Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong was seeking to promote amid a sea of pink ink on the paper, which he took over in mid 2018 for $500 million. Soon-Shiong had insisted on the time the experiences weren’t true. Still, some main job candidates had been mentioned to have dropped out amid the uncertainty.

“I am excited to be the next executive editor of the L.A. Times, and will bring with me an open heart, a penchant for experimentation and a fiercely competitive spirit,” mentioned Merida. “Looking forward to partnering with new colleagues and soaring to greater heights together.”

Merida had been a prime editor on the Washington Post earlier than he jumped to ESPN in 2015, and had been seen by some as a doable successor to prime editor Marty Baron after his former boss retired earlier this 12 months. But Merida’s age seemed to be an obstacle and the Washington Post, which is alleged to be looking for a alternative who may lead the newsroom for the following decade, continues to be looking.

At ESPN, Merida was a senior vice chairman and editor in chief of The Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports activities and tradition. It has expanded throughout Disney with documentaries and tv specials, music movies and albums, reside occasions and digital speak exhibits, and two bestselling youngsters’s books. Merida additionally oversaw the Investigative/News Enterprise unit, the tv exhibits “E:60” and “Outside the Lines,” and chaired ESPN’s editorial board. 

“We are elated to welcome Kevin to the Los Angeles Times,” Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong mentioned in a press release on Monday.

“Kevin possesses a clear understanding of the rigor necessary for independent journalism and how to translate that journalism to multiple platforms. He also shares our passion for the unique opportunity we have to build the L.A. Times into a media enterprise with a distinct West Coast point of view.”

He takes over a newsroom that currently has slammed by racial issues, delivered to the forefront throughout final summer time’s protests tied to the Black Lives Matter motion following the dying of George Floyd.

The Times and its former mother or father firm Tribune Publishing in November agreed to $3 million class motion lawsuit settlement which alleged gender, race and ethnic discrimination masking almost 240 present and former reporters that included blacks, Latinos and ladies journalists who labored on the paper from February 2015 by means of October 2020.

In September, Dr. Soon-Shiong revealed a prolonged apology to readers for its previous flawed protection on issues of race. “Over its history, The Times has also mirrored, and in some cases propagated, the biases and prejudices of the world it covers, reflecting and shaping attitudes that have contributed to social and economic inequity,” he wrote.

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