*The Los Angeles Times on Monday announced that Kevin Merida will be its new executive editor.
Merida, 64, has built a lengthy career in newspapers, including 22 years at the Washington Post before joining ESPN in 2015 to lead the sports culture show “The Undefeated.” He also worked at the Dallas Morning News and Milwaukee Journal.
“Kevin possesses a clear understanding of the rigor necessary for independent journalism and how to translate that journalism to multiple platforms,” the newspaper’s owners, Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong, said in a statement. “He also shares our passion for the unique opportunity we have to build the L.A. Times into a media enterprise with a distinct West Coast point of view.”
Merida replaces Norman Pearlstine, who stepped down late last year, per The Associated Press.
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) May 3, 2021
“I am excited to be the next executive editor of the L.A. Times, and will bring with me an open heart, a penchant for experimentation and a fiercely competitive spirit,” Merida said in a statement. “Looking forward to partnering with new colleagues and soaring to greater heights together.”
Per Variety, in 2020, Merida received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists and was elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board. As managing editor at the Washington Post, the publication won four Pulitzer Prizes.
“Kevin has the vision, the skill and the depth to master any situation in which he finds himself,” said Jacqueline Jones, a professor at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism & Communication, who worked with Merida at the Post. “More importantly, though, he is the kind of leader folks want to work with. He is organized, thoughtful and focused and has the ability to make it seem effortless, the latter a skill I greatly admire.”
The Times is choosing a Black editor after last year publishing a lengthy apology for having “a blind spot, at worst an outright hostility” toward the city’s nonwhite population.