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LA Times Names Web Deputies, Promises Stronger Web News

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Russ Stanton is taking that Innovation Editor title a little too literally–the web version is going to be a ’round the clock effort. Also, the dismal video section is getting some camera operators and an editor, but the same clueless people are still involved. (Hint: hire some producers who know what to do, and ditch the Multimedia drones.)

Here’s a recent memo to the Times’ troops:

Last week, we created a new category of employee in the print newsroom: web deputy. These key people will serve as the glue between the two mediums, helping reporters and editors at the paper develop more and better content for latimes.com.

They are:

* Foreign/National: Diana Swartz, formerly projects editor at latimes.com.
* California: Mary MacVean, formerly morning assignment editor in California.
* Orange County/Inland Empire: Laura Nott, formerly copy desk chief in Orange County.
* Business: Michelle Maltais, formerly a producer in Editorial Multimedia.
* Sports: Dan Loumena, formerly an assistant sports editor.
* Calendar: Rene Lynch, formerly deputy entertainment editor in Calendar.
* Science/Health/Environment/Medicine: Martin Beck, formerly a technology editor in News Operations.
* Travel and Books: Mary Forgione, formerly a deputy editor in Travel.
* Real Estate: Annette Haddad, formerly residential real estate reporter in Business.

We are still looking to fill openings in California, Image, Food, Home and Highway 1.

These appointments follow a host of others across the newsroom this summer, underscoring our commitment to make the website the best it can be. Deputy Managing Editor Melissa McCoy set up a morning copy-editing desk to serve the website, staffing it with five of her best folks and led by Henry Fuhrmann. Melissa also ponied up copy editor Marc Olson and designer Sue Timmons, who are now the site’s overnight editors.


Beginning next week, latimes.com will be a 24/7 operation for the first time since the late 1990s. Multimedia Director Barbara Morrow, working with Assistant managing Editor and Director of Photography Colin Crawford and his crew, are developing a comprehensive video strategy for the website which has resulted in the print-side photo staff committing three shooters, a technician and an editor to video. The graphics department, under the guidance of Les Dunseith, has been trained in interactive graphics with the help of an outside consultant.

None of these editors received additional staffing for their efforts. They understand how critical the website is to the success of the paper, and each of them figured out creative ways to continue their excellent work on the print side with smaller staffs. The upshot: we’ve now got 39 talented and dedicated print-side people (compared with only 5 eight months ago) devoted to the integration effort. You can expect the pace of change to accelerate in the months ahead.

In the coming weeks be on the lookout for:

* Who will be on the soon-to-be-formed rewrite desk, along with a breaking news blog that will capture the up-to-the-minute goings on in Los Angeles and the region, part of a reconfigured and expanded Continuous News Desk.
* A Readers’ Representative page on latimes.com that, among other things, will feature a discussion with readers hosted by Jamie Gold and Kent Zelas.
* New blogs from in-house staff on topics such as education and entertainment.
* News about an expanded video team and a training program for staffers on how to tell stories using video.

Lastly, you’ll be hearing from Jim O’Shea soon about which recommendations in the Reinvent report are being pursued and a timetable on when you can expect to see some of the new things being rolled out.

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