The Los Angeles Times on Monday said that Kevin Merida, who built ESPN’s The Undefeated into a multi-media presence and spent a lengthy career in newspapers before that, will be its new executive editor.
Merida, 64, is being challenged by the newspaper’s owners, Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong, to speed its transition into a digital news leader. Merida is moving to Los Angeles from Washington, where he spent 22 years at the Washington Post before joining ESPN in 2015. He also worked at the Dallas Morning News and Milwaukee Journal. The Post is searching for its own new leader following the retirement of Marty Baron. Merida replaces Norman Pearlstine, who stepped down late last year. The Times chose a Black editor as its leader following a period where the newspaper and other journalistic institutions have taken tough looks at their own diversity in both staffing and in who and what they cover. Last September, the newspaper published a lengthy apology for having “a blind spot, at worst an outright hostility” toward Los Angeles’ nonwhite population. The newspaper said then that 38% of its editorial journalists were journalists of color, and that “we know that is not nearly good enough.” Today on AirTalk, we contextualize the Times’ history with coverage on race among other topics and how bringing in the new editor will impact the paper’s attempt to improve. Do you have thoughts? Questions? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Fernando Guerra, professor of political science and Chicana/o Latina/o studies and director of the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University; emeritus member of the KPCC Board of Trustees