John Corrigan named AME for arts and entertainment; Laurie Ochoa, A&E editor
A memo to the newsroom from Editor Davan Maharaj:
Today, I’m announcing a new leadership team for one of the most important journalistic franchises at The Times.
John, who will become an assistant managing editor, will work with an accomplished team that includes some of our strongest reporters and editors. He inherits a Calendar staff that produces some of the most innovative coverage in the entertainment world. Our Movie team landed an agenda-setting series on Academy Award diversity. Our television and music teams are setting new audience records on Showtracker and Pop & Hiss. Hero Complex is a multimedia juggernaut. The Envelope has become awards central for Hollywood. And our critics are the best in the business.
John brings a wealth of experience and energy to his new role. As Business editor, he led a team of reporters and editors in making our financial report a model: a combination of elegant features, hard-hitting investigative stories, and quick-hit breaking news on our blogs. John collaborated with our Company Town team and sharpened our focus on technology and social media -- helping to bring millions of new readers to Tech Now.
He has shown a particular ability to work with top-flight reporters and editors. John edited the 2003 series “The Wal-Mart Effect,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. He directed The Times’ coverage of Ameriquest, which was praised by the Columbia Journalism Review as a rare warning from the business press before the mortgage meltdown. He oversaw our coverage of Toyota’s sudden-acceleration crisis, for which reporters Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian won a Loeb Award. He worked with Ken again this year on the ground-breaking Wheels of Fortune series. We will learn in a few days if that has won a Loeb as well.
As a film and television major at Loyola Marymount University, John specialized in screenwriting and earned a bachelor’s degree in fine and communication arts. His passion for music is evident whenever he cuts loose on his Stratocaster in the band Blue Cube.
John will report to me. Please join me in congratulating him on his new assignment.
Laurie Ochoa, former editor of the LA Weekly, Gourmet magazine and most recently an interim editor of the Hollywood Reporter, is returning to The Times as Arts and Entertainment Editor.
Laurie brings a broad knowledge of L.A.’s cultural scene, a keen story sense and a proven commitment to producing the highest-quality journalism on the Web and in print. Writers and editors who have worked with her praise her ability to bring out their best work.
During a decade at The Times, she was a writer in Calendar and then, for five years, editor of the Food section. She moved to New York to become executive editor of Gourmet magazine, where she won a James Beard Award and helped lead that publication to its first National Magazine Award nominations.
She returned to Southern California as editor in chief of the LA Weekly, which won more national journalism awards during her stewardship than any other alternative newsweekly – including the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for criticism. She also managed her staff through the paper’s transition from a print-focused weekly to a 24/7 digital production.
More recently, she co-founded Slake: Los Angeles, a journal of narrative reporting, fiction, memoir, poetry, art and photography, which Good magazine said “somehow managed to condense 500 square miles of a diverse, complicated and messy city into a single volume that’s unmistakably speaking to L.A.”
Laurie also has taught in the graduate program at USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and been an advising editor for USC's NEA Arts Journalism Institute fellowships.
She will report to John.
Mary McNamara’s wit and intelligence have made her one of the best television critics in the nation.
But why stop at that?
Today, John and I are giving Mary the additional title of Senior Culture Editor. In her new role, we’ll tap Mary’s unique insights and entertainment knowledge to generate story ideas and to help identify new coverage areas.
A graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia Journalism School, Mary has worked at The Times for 21 years, including stints as news editor, feature writer, film writer and TV critic. Early in her career, Mary worked at Ms. magazine, where she said her life “kind of resembled ‘Girls’ except that we knew Gloria Steinem and talked about things other than just boys.”
Her legions of fans have come to look for Mary’s smart take on whatever happens to be in the conversation. Mary knows how to engage readers – whether she’s writing about the distractions of plastic surgery, the entertainment value of the State of the Union, or gratuitously bare breasts on HBO. In her new role, she’ll work with other reporters and editors to do the same.
Please join me in wishing Mary the best in her expanded role.
Photo: John Corrigan. Credit: Los Angeles Times