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


Davan Maharaj, who was the highest ranking Indian American newspaper journalist, has been removed as the top editor and publisher of The Los Angeles Times in a shakeup of the publication's leadership. The newspaper's publisher will be Ross Levinsohn, who has no experience in newspapers but worked at Fox and Yahoo.

Along the way he was a foreign correspondent in Africa, assistant foreign editor, business editor and managing editor.

Levinsohn, the new publisher, had been consulting for Tronc for the past year, and the Times story says that when it became clear that company executives wanted to make big changes at the Times, he put his own name forward. He also replaces Maharaj, who held the title of publisher and editor in chief. The one encouraging ray: digital-only subscriptions increased nicely, as Tronc's game of catch-up showed it most results there.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity", Levinsohn told the Times in an interview.

"My focus is pretty simple", Levinsohn said.

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While Maharaj was editor, The Times won three Pulitizer Prizes, including for breaking news reporting of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino. More important to Tronc's success is the Times' place in the company.

In the years before Maharaj took over as Editor in Chief, the L.A. Times cut 40 percent of its editorial staff in an attempt to remain profitable.

LA Observed reports that Levinsohn has called an all-hands meeting for 3 the paper.

My priority is to help ensure the Los Angeles Times continues to flourish and becomes an even more aggressive, competitive and sustainable organization. "I am confident that together, we will accelerate the Los Angeles Times' evolution and the digital transformation of tronc and produce its next stage of growth".

But on the web, the Times is venturing into podcasting and documentary filmmaking through deals with other companies.

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Levinsohn, 54, was a director of Tribune Co, before the companies split and remains on the board of Tribune Media.

Dearborn told Maharaj he was sacked at a breakfast meeting in Los Angeles on Monday.

"They could be hard to talk to and people didn't feel like they offered much vision for the direction of the paper", the source said. New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, had been fired by the LA Times corporate management in 2006 when he was the editor there refusing to carry out layoffs.

There was again turmoil in 2015 after Austin Beutner, then-publisher of the Los Angeles Times, was sacked by then-CEO Jack Griffin after leading a yearlong initiative to reshape the paper's digital efforts.

The company did determine that the dual publisher and editor role - which was part of a sweeping, companywide reorganization in 2016 - was problematic in a market the size of Los Angeles.

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Correction: A previous version of this story said that several top "executives" at the Los Angeles Times had been dismissed.