Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Tronc names digital media executive to lead LA Times (NWSA)

A native of Trinidad Maharaj began his journey at the paper as a summer intern A native of Trinidad Maharaj began his journey at the paper as a summer intern
Kristopher Love | 22 August, 2017, 10:00

There's big news today in the newsroom.

Trinidadian editor-in-chief Davan Maharaj is among several top editors at the Los Angeles Times who were terminated yesterday.

Maharaj, a former Express journalist celebrated locally for his appointment to the helm of the prestigious United States media house, has been replaced by Jim Kirk, former top editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ross Levinsohn, the former interim CEO of Yahoo, was named publisher and chief executive at the Los Angeles Times.

Levinsohn previously served as interim chief executive of Yahoo Inc, and as president of Fox Interactive Media when it was part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp he developed digital strategy for Fox's entertainment properties.

Levinsohn told CNNMoney that he will try to position the Los Angeles Times for "sustainable, long-term growth".

Levinsohn, 54, was a director of Tribune Co, before the companies split and remains on the board of Tribune Media. "I have benefitted from their wisdom, and I have every expectation that this experience will be no different".

The LA Times has undergone several management changes and rounds of layoffs in recent years, reflecting a struggle by newspapers in general to adapt to digital media. An internal memo from Dearborn said Tim Ryan, Ken DePaola and Joseph Schiltz from troncM, tronc's media arm, would be leaving the organization as well. Further, Terry Jimenez, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Tronc, now adds to his responsibilities, taking over manufacturing and distribution operations.

Justin Dearborn, CEO of The Times' Chicago-based parent company, tronc, released a statement hailing Ross as a "visionary and innovative executive". After Knight left the Sun-Times, he had a brief stint in Cleveland and then assumed digital executive responsibilities at Tronc in February. Those include the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and Hartford Courant.

According to Dearborn, The Times is looking to step up its investment in Washington, D.C., along with making inroads into Asia and South America.

The announcement comes on the heels of tronc's second quarter earnings report, which saw revenue fall 8.6 percent in the second quarter of 2017 compared with the same period a year ago. "Advertising revenues for troncX declined by 9%".

Despite the restructuring, Tronc, too, has suffered losses in ad revenue and print subscriptions. With these moves, then, the company aims to do two things: 1) jumpstart the lagging digital business; 2) further streamline management and cut costs. The Times' newsroom still ranks as the fourth largest in the country. "In my adult life, there is never been a more important time for journalism, for facts and for reporting". Since Tribune Company (now Tronc) bought Los Angeles Times parent Times Mirror in 2000 for $6.45 billion in stock and cash, Los Angeles and Chicago have frequently clashed, leading to departures of top editors and executives from the paper's West Coast jewel.