Jim Kirk will be named editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times, replacing Lewis D’Vorkin, who will move to another position within the parent company. The paper reported Sunday that the appointment is expected to be officially announced Monday, the latest move capping off two weeks of turmoil at the West Coast’s largest daily paper, including a unionization vote by newsroom employees and reports of tension between D’Vorkin and his staff.
Kirk previously served as publisher and editor of the Chicago Sun-Times and joined the L.A. Times’ parent company, Tronc, in August 2017. He was named interim editor on Aug. 21 after a shake-up of top editors, then D’Vorkin was named editor-in-chief in early November.
D’Vorkin, who was the chief product officer at Forbes until October 2017, becomes the chief officer to develop content for digital and mobile consumers, according a company spokesperson.
The L.A. Times in recent months has hired several news executives who report to business executives, not editors, who were not informed of the hires. The unrest, and the unexplained suspension on Friday of a well-regarded business editor in the newsroom, has sparked media speculation about the direction of the paper.
The L.A. Times story reported that writers and editors have been worried that Tronc was building a shadow newsroom in an effort to blur the lines between news and advertising in a bid to boost revenue. Editors and reporters had asked questions about the business-side operation, but D’Vorkin and other Tronc executives revealed little.
The paper published comments from Justin Dearborn, Tronc’s chief executive officer, who stated, “We are continuing to invest in high-quality journalism, which will always be the company’s top priority. Jim Kirk is a talented news veteran who is the ideal person to lead the Los Angeles Times newsroom. We believe his established passion for news, and his management experience with big-city news teams, make him uniquely qualified.”
The news comes 10 days after L.A. Times publisher Ross Levinsohn was placed on unpaid leave following revelations that he had been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits while he worked at other media companies before joining The Times. Tronc has hired a law firm to investigate the allegations against Levinsohn after a detailed report by National Public Radio.