Julia Turner, who led the Los Angeles Times’ culture and entertainment coverage before taking a business strategy role, announced Tuesday that she is leaving the paper.
“The time has come for me to explore other ways to contribute to the mission of strengthening, protecting and preserving information in the digital age,” Turner said in a memo to staff. “It has been an extraordinary privilege to be part of this newsroom – one of the most talented and tenacious this industry has ever produced. I leave a stronger, better and braver journalist, thanks to all of you.
Turner becomes the fourth high-ranking editor-in-chief to resign since early January.
His decision comes less than two weeks after the newspaper’s owner Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong appointed Terry Tang as interim editor-in-chief following the abrupt departure of Kevin Merida on January 12 amid heightened tensions with Soon Shiong.
Tang has since sought to calm an editorial staff plagued by about 115 layoffs and senior departures by quickly training his management team, including by promoting Hector Becerra to editor-in-chief, his deputy.
Until Tang’s appointment, Turner and editor-in-chief Scott Kraft led the newsroom through a period of great anxiety, including a historic one-day strike by editorial guild members and layoffs, which saw the newsroom shrink by more than 20%.
Turner has served as senior vice president for content business strategy to bridge the gap between the newsroom and business-side executives since last March. She was previously deputy editor for entertainment and strategy, responsible for The Times’ coverage of culture and entertainment. She briefly supervised sports.
A thoughtful editor, she encouraged the entertainment team to elevate its journalism with the goal of becoming essential reading for culture aficionados, Los Angeles residents and those who work in the industry.
His team conducted aggressive investigations, including stories that sparked an industry boycott Assn. from the Hollywood Foreign Press. and Golden Globes. Members of his team won or were finalists for Pulitzer Prizes three times during his tenure.
“Julia Turner is leaving the company after five years of distinguished service. We are grateful for her editorial and strategic leadership, and for the way she has made us a stronger and better institution,” Chris Argentieri, president and chief operating officer of The Times, said in a statement.
Turner joined the Times in November 2018, after 15 years at the online magazine Slate, where she served as editor-in-chief for four years. She remained host of Slate’s “Culture Gabfest” podcast.
“I am very grateful to our owners for saving the Los Angeles Times six years ago and inviting me to be part of the great project to develop a sustainable future for this extremely important institution,” Turner said. “I leave comforted knowing that the newsroom has passionate and capable leaders in place, and that this company is filled with people committed to continuing the fight.
She will join the USC Annenberg Center for Communication Leadership & Policy as a principal investigator to study ways to develop new sustainable business models to preserve and protect journalism and strengthen community and democracy, particularly in Southern California , according to the university.
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