A memo to the newsroom from Assistant Managing Editor Sallie Hofmeister and Arts & Entertainment Editor Craig Turner:
Jim Rainey is taking on a new assignment, applying his formidable reporting, analytical and writing skills to the beat that he has skillfully covered as a columnist for more than three years. Starting next week, Jim will be doing longer investigations, profiles and analyses of the media world that we expect will land him regularly on A1, in Column One, and on the Sunday and daily Calendar covers.
As our On the Media columnist, Jim has chronicled the shifting landscape of journalism as the Internet and social media transformed the culture and business of news. His columns have explored politics, public television, local news, new economic models for journalism and the blurring of the line between advertising and editorial. A series of columns that he wrote about the deteriorating quality of local TV news won him the 2010 Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism from Pennsylvania State University. A dogged reporter, Jim broke the news as a columnist of KCET’s withdrawal from PBS, NPR’s ouster of Vivian Schiller and a management shuffle at KNBC -- prompted in part by one of his columns.
By freeing Jim from the constraints of a twice-weekly column, we believe that he will have an even bigger impact and broaden the mix of stories on the front page and in Calendar. He still will tweet on media topics and will post to Show Tracker, Company Town and the politics blogs. Jim will continue to report to Bret Israel, editor of the Sunday Calendar and Arts & Books sections.
Jim joined The Times as a staff writer in 1987, shortly after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley. Since then, he has covered child welfare, the environment, the mayoral administrations of Tom Bradley and Richard Riordan, the 1992 riots, the 1994 earthquake, several wildfires and the 2004 and 2008 presidential races. A Los Angeles native who attended Santa Monica High, Jim spent a month in Iraq for The Times in 2006.