LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Times on Monday announced the appointment of veteran journalist Norman Pearlstine as executive editor in the first major move by the newspaper’s new owner.
Pearlstine had been serving for two months as an adviser to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who spent $500 million to buy the Times, San Diego Union-Tribune, Spanish-language newspaper Hoy and some community newspapers from Chicago-based Tronc. Pearlstine created a transition plan that he will now help execute, the Times said.
Pearlstine, 75, has spent 50 years in journalism with publications including Time Inc., Bloomberg News, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal.
“There’s no agenda, other than to make this the best journalistic institution,” Soon-Shiong said in a statement.
Pearlstine becomes the Times’ fourth top editor in less than a year — and its 18th since the newspaper began publishing in 1881. He succeeds Jim Kirk, whose seven-month tenure culminated with the sale of the paper.
“One of the great things that comes with Patrick’s ownership, with local ownership and a willingness to invest, is that it brings a period of stability,” Pearlstine said in an interview with the Times.
Soon-Shiong, 65, has pledged to restore the organization’s reputation as a journalism powerhouse.
Pearlstine and Soon-Shiong met a few years ago, when Pearlstine was vice chairman at Time Inc. and they reconnected in February. Soon-Shiong said he discussed an interim role for Pearlstine, but quickly dismissed that idea.
“We’ve had enough interims,” Soon-Shiong said. “He’ll be here as long as he wants.”
In 2005, while serving as editor in chief of Time Inc., Pearlstine was harshly criticized for turning over subpoenaed notes of reporter Matthew Cooper to a federal grand jury that was hearing evidence into the identification of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. Pearlstine said that Time Inc. had spent millions of dollars fighting the special counsel and “lost every round.”
He started in journalism in 1967 as a copy boy at The New York Times. He moved to the Wall Street Journal in 1968, where he worked for the next decade, including a stint in Los Angeles.
Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com/