In Los Angeles, Ron will continue to perform the unique combination of roles he has held for the last seven years. Ron will continue to supervise and provide overall editorial direction for National Journal’s flagship integrated reports on changes remaking America: the Next Economy project, focusing on how average families are navigating the changing economy; the Next America project, examining how growing diversity is changing the national agenda; and the 50 Innovators project, identifying grassroots problem-solvers making progress on the big challenges facing the country. He will also continue to work with our sister publications, Quartz and Atlantic Cities, on their own special projects. Finally, Ron will continue to write his weekly column in National Journal, contribute full-length feature pieces to National Journal and The Atlantic, and provide analysis for Quartz.
From Los Angeles, Ron will lead our efforts in raising Atlantic Media’s presence on the West Coast. Ron will contribute more original reporting to the Next Economy and Next America projects and will look for new partners to help us launch additional integrated reports on other large-scale trends reshaping America. Ron will return to Washington for several days bi-monthly.
When I asked Ron why he wanted to return to California, he told me it seemed a logical outgrowth of his work here atNational Journal and Atlantic Media. “In the past few years, I’ve increasingly devoted my time to studying the underlying economic and demographic trends reshaping American life,” he said. “This move offers a great opportunity to get closer to the impact of those trends on the ground. California embodies all of the promise—and challenge—of our new economic and demographic realities. And it’s also a great jumping off point for spending time across the West, which offers a perspective we often don’t hear clearly enough in Washington. For me this is the best of both worlds: a chance to refresh my understanding of what’s happening in America while continuing to work with great colleagues at Atlantic Media. I’m tremendously grateful to David Bradley and everyone else here for providing me this opportunity.”
Then he added one more thing: “Plus, as the song says, we love LA.”
For Ron, this move will be a homecoming. After serving as National Journal’s White House and political correspondent in the early 1980s (or, as he puts it, sometime in the Jurassic period), he moved to Los Angeles in 1986. There, Ron wrote his bookThe Power and The Glitter, a history of the relationship between Hollywood and Washington. He then joined the Los Angeles Times and, after a few years, returned to Washington as national political correspondent and columnist. Ultimately, Ron spent 17 years with the Los Angeles Times, twice being named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of presidential campaigns. Ron rejoined Atlantic Media in 2007.
Ron’s wife Eileen, whom many of you know, has exciting plans for the move as well. Eileen has spent the past five years as vice president for communications at the Bipartisan Policy Center, building its communications staff, creating a robust events division and raising its visibility in the national debate on issues. In California, Eileen will launch her own media consulting firm, working with public and private organizations to raise their national profile.
Ron and Eileen will spend two years in Los Angeles before returning to Washington in spring, 2016. Ron will cover the 2016 presidential primaries for National Journal and Atlantic Media from his base in Los Angeles (something, he reminded me, he did for the Los Angeles Times in the 1992 campaign, when he wrote some of the path-breaking articles about a long-shot named Bill Clinton). He and Eileen will then be back in Washington for the national conventions and general election.