Lewis D’Vorkin, the embattled editor in chief of The Los Angeles Times, is being replaced by veteran Chicago journalist Jim Kirk in a dramatic shakeup at the newspaper that follows weeks of tumult in the newsroom.
The newspaper’s parent, Chicago-based Tronc, confirmed the move late Sunday. Kirk, 52, who joined Tronc in August, is a former editor and publisher of The Chicago Sun-Times who briefly served as interim editor at the Times ahead of D’Vorkin’s appointment less than five months ago.
D’Vorkin, 65, will become Tronc’s chief content officer.
NPR’s David Folkenflik reports: “These moves follow intense newsroom anger over D’Vorkin’s [handling] of the paper’s coverage of Disney; amorphous plans to supplement Los Angeles Times and Tronc content with non-newsroom writers and content partners; and D’Vorkin’s obsessive reaction to newsroom leaks and controversies.”
Previously, while chief product officer at Forbes, D’Vorkin sought to open up advertising streams by allowing advertisers to contribute material alongside the magazine’s own articles, according to The New York Times.
Further, The Los Angeles Times reports that the newly unionized newsroom, “has become alarmed by the hiring in recent months of several news executives who report to business executives — not editors in the newsroom. But those hires have not been announced to the newsroom, sparking suspicion about the company’s motives for the new team.”
Last August, the newspaper’s executive editor and publisher, Davan Maharaj and his deputy, Marc Duvoisin, were abruptly fired over complaints from within the newsroom that business concerns had caused a delay in publication of one of the paper’s investigative projects.
D’Vorkin’s standing was also undermined by NPR’s investigation earlier this month of his patron and former business partner Ross Levinsohn, the paper’s publisher and CEO. Levinsohn is now on leave and under review by Tronc after NPR uncovered a pattern of accusations of workplace misconduct, including two sexual harassment lawsuits in which he was a defendant. Levinsohn called the accusations “lies” in a phone call with NPR CEO Jarl Mohn.
D’Vorkin was also criticized for his handling of a dispute between Times journalists and the Walt Disney Company, who banned its reporters from attending advance screenings of films after the Times published an investigative series alleging that Disney got favorable deals from the city of Anaheim, where Disneyland Park is located.
Tronc is also expected to announce new newsroom leadership for the New York Daily News. Its managing editor, Robert Moore, and top Sunday editor, Alex “Doc” Jones, were placed under investigation after NPR’s inquiry about a detailed harassment complaint was filed against them.
Moore remains on the job; however, according to multiple newsroom sources contacted by NPR, Jones has been suspended.