August 21, 2017 / 9:21 PM / 2 years ago

Tronc names digital media executive to lead LA Times

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Newspaper company Tronc Inc on Monday named digital media veteran Ross Levinsohn to be chief executive officer and publisher of the Los Angeles Times as part of a shake-up of senior management.

The logo of Tronc Inc (TRNC.O), formerly Tribune Publishing Company, is seen at TechFair LA, a technology job fair, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTSXKC4

Jim Kirk, former editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, was named interim executive editor. The appointments are effective immediately, Tronc said in a statement announcing the moves.

The current editor and publisher of the Los Angeles Times, Davan Maharaj, is leaving the paper, Tronc Chief Executive Justin Dearborn said in a memo to staff. Maharaj is a 28-year-veteran of the newspaper who has served as editor and publisher since March 2016.

“This new structure will allow us to expand the reach of our great journalism and realize our business objectives, including elevating and better integrating digital processes that are critical for our future,” Dearborn said in the memo, which was seen by Reuters.

The masthead changes came after weeks of turmoil that started with the announcement that a popular editor was being reassigned by Maharaj, according to two newsroom veterans who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matter.

They said the reassignment prompted numerous complaints to human resources and followed months of growing staff dissatisfaction and an unfavorable article about Maharaj’s leadership in Los Angeles magazine in December 2016.

Maharaj and a Tronc spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The LA Times reported that Maharaj sent an email to staff praising the newspaper’s journalists as “indomitable.”

“I wish them well in their continued fight to serve our community. I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” Maharaj wrote, according to story.

The LA Times has undergone several management changes and rounds of layoffs in recent years, reflecting a struggle by newspapers in general to adapt to digital media.

Levinsohn previously served as interim chief executive of Yahoo Inc, and as president of Fox Interactive Media when it was part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp he developed digital strategy for Fox’s entertainment properties.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler and Matthew Lewis

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