Chicago newsman Jim Kirk will be named editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, a Tronc spokesperson confirmed, replacing former Forbes executive Lewis D’Vorkin, who last week lost the confidence of the newsroom he had been appointed to lead just last fall.
D’Vorkin was named editor last October by embattled L.A. Times publisher and CEO Ross Levinsohn, who was recently placed on unpaid leave while Tronc, the Times’ parent company, investigates past sexual-harassment settlements and allegations of inappropriate behavior. Kirk had served as interim editor until D’Vorkin’s appointment.
The leadership shake-up is only the latest since last summer. In August, four top editors, including editor-in-chief Davan Maharaj, were fired over newsroom complaints that the publication of an investigative project had been slowed because of business concerns.
In recent weeks, the newsroom mounted a successful union drive effort, the results of which were announced just hours before Levinsohn’s leave of absence was announced.
Kirk’s appointment caps a chaotic few days that included the suspension of a well-regarded editor by D’Vorkin, who staffers say had been aggressively investigating the source of leaks to outside news organizations about newsroom developments. D’Vorkin had alienated many in the newsroom, some who characterized him as condescending and aloof. The sudden and unexplained suspension of business editor Kimi Yoshino last week became the latest grievance by the newsroom.
Times journalists had become concerned over the news that Levinsohn and D’Vorkin would be implementing an unpaid contributor model at the Los Angeles Times, similar to one the Huffington Post used for years before recently abandoning the strategy.
D’Vorkin will now become chief content officer for Tronc, confirmed Tronc spokeswoman Marisa Kollias.
Kirk was previously publisher and editor-in-chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. He also was chief of editorial operations at Crain’s Chicago Business and, before that, managing editor at the Chicago News Cooperative.