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New editor, allegations of ‘union-busting’ and rumors of a ‘shadow newsroom’: what’s going on at the LA Times?

The Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A.
The Los Angeles Times building in downtown L.A.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

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Chicago journalist Jim Kirk has been named editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times.

Kirk will replace Lewis D’Vorkin, former Forbes chief product officer who had only manned the Times since October. The change comes on the heels of a newsroom unionization vote and reported tension between D’Vorkin and staff members, and years of management shifts and staff cutbacks. D’Vorkian is moving on to become the chief content officer of Tronc, the Times’ parent company. But Kirk’s new appointment isn’t being met with open arms. He’s a former publisher and editor at the Chicago Sun-Times and was briefly named the L.A. Times editor in late August.

In related news, there are a few pieces out over the weekend alleging that Tronc is looking for ways to marginalize the newly unionized newsroom at the Times, including reportedly building a “shadow” newsroom filled with non-unionized writers.

We reached out to the LA Times management for comments, but they did not respond to our request for comment before our on-air deadline. Here is a statement released from Tronc, Inc., the Times’ parent company:

Tronc Names Editor-In-Chief in Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News by Southern California Public Radio on Scribd


Bettina Boxall, water issue and environmental reporter for the Los Angeles Times; she is a member of the L.A. Times Guild organizing committee; she tweets @boxall

Jim Newton, public policy lecturer at UCLA and former Los Angeles Times reporter, editor, columnist and bureau chief; he was with the Times for 25 years; he tweets @newton_jim