Terry Tang named executive editor of the Los Angeles Times after leading newsroom on interim basis


(AP) — Terry Tang, who has been leading the Los Angeles Times newsroom since January on an interim basis, on Monday was formally named executive editor. She is the first woman to hold the post in the newspaper’s 142-year history.

Since being tapped for the interim role, Tang moved to reorganize the newsroom, form her own leadership team, and place a heavier emphasis on traditional news reporting, the Times said in a report announcing the appointment.

“Terry in short order has demonstrated the capability of building on our legacy of excellence in journalism with stories that matter,” the Times’ owner, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, said in a statement. “She understands our mission to be a thriving pillar of democracy and the critical role that the LA Times’ voice plays — to our city, and to the world — in bringing attention to issues that matter most, especially for those whose voices are often unheard.”

Tang’s appointment comes during a tumultuous year for the news institution. In January, the Times said it would lay off at least 115 employees — more than 20% of the newsroom — in one of the company’s largest-ever staff cuts. Senior editors, photographers, and members of the video unit were also part of the purge.

That latest round of job cutting came after more than 70 Times positions — about 13% of the newsroom — were slashed last June.

Tang replaces Kevin Merida, who abruptly left in late January after a 2 1/2-year tenure.

“The Los Angeles Times and its superb journalists make a difference every day in the life of California and this nation,” Tang said in a statement Monday. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to lead an institution that serves our community and to make our work indispensable to our readers.”

Previously, Tang led the Opinion section for nearly two years after joining the Times in 2019 as deputy op-ed editor. Tang will continue to oversee Opinion.

Tang, 65, has deep roots in Southern California. She was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and her family spent a few years in Japan before immigrating to Los Angeles when she was 6.

She graduated from Yale University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and earned her law degree from the New York University School of Law. She served as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in the early 1990s.

Before joining the Times, she worked for two years at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she served as director of publications and editorial. Before that, she worked at the New York Times for 20 years in a variety of roles.

Layoffs and buyouts have hit a wide swath of the U.S. news industry over the past years. The Washington Post, NPR, CNN, and Vox Media were among the many companies impacted.

The major cuts at the Times were necessary because the company could no longer lose up to $40 million a year without boosting advertising and subscription revenue, Soon-Shiong said in January.

A biotech billionaire, Soon-Shiong acquired the Times in 2018, returning it to local ownership two decades after it was sold to Tribune Co. The purchase raised hopes after years of cutbacks, circulation declines, and leadership changes.

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