Search for LA Times top editor continues without apparent frontrunner

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The team searching for a new top editor for the Los Angeles Times is still wading through a long list of potential candidates but expects to announce a permanent executive editor by the end of the first quarter, The Post has learned.

The process continued on Monday Jan. 11 with a Zoom call between members of the search team, including Chris Argentieri, president of the LA Times and San Diego Union Tribune, headhunter Karen Danziger, Norm Pearlstine, the paper’s recently departed executive editor. Also present was Nancy Antoniou, head of human resources for a series of California papers including the LA Times, sources said.

Danziger of Koller Search was the headhunter involved in the recent search for a new San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief, which resulted in Washington Post managing editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz taking the post in August.

No frontrunner emerged from the meeting as the list continues to be honed, sources said. “I don’t see a frontrunner at this time,” said one source. “Too early.”

An LA Times spokeswoman said there were no new developments in the search.

The one new name to surface, however, was Rene Sanchez, the editor-in-chief of the Minneapolis Star Tribune who spent six years earlier in his career running the Washington Post’s LA bureau. Sanchez didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Janice Min, another top candidate, remains in the running, sources said. The former editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, who was also CEO of its parent company and earlier the top editor at Us Weekly, took a job as a contributing editor gig with Time magazine this week, but that is not being viewed as a hurdle to her getting the full-time LA Times job.

Kevin Merida, a senior VP at ESPN and editor-in-chief of sports website The Undefeated also remains high on the list. His past experience includes a job a managing editor at the Washington Post, where he worked prior to landing at ESPN in 2017.

Also being considered are a slew of LA Times insiders, including Scott Kraft, 63, and Kimi Yoshino, 46, who took over as co-editors after Pearlstine left — as well as op-ed editor Sewell Chan, sources said.

Once the field is culled, the finalists will be presented to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the health-care billionaire who bought the LA Times and San Diego Union Tribune from Tribune Publishing for $500 million in 2018. His health care company is said to be heavily involved in trying to develop a low-cost easy-to-administer vaccine to fight coronavirus, which has taken him away from more closely running his newspapers over the past year.

Some candidates may also have been culled from the list circulated late last year. Marc Lacey, for example, was recently promoted to assistant managing editor at New York Times and appeared to take himself out of the running in recent comment to Media Ink.

“I spent ten years at the Los Angeles Times and care about the place deeply,” he said in a statement. “But my only foreseeable role there is as a devoted subscriber,” he said when asked about the job.

The LA Times has plenty of competition in its quest as it competes with other big vacancies, including the top spots at Reuters, Huffington Post and Vox. Fears that Washington Post’s Marty Baron, 66, would also leave his seat after the inauguration appear to have been quelled, however, with Vanity Fair saying that he plans to wait until reporters are back in the newsroom, which is not expected before June.

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