Jan. Newsletter

On the move: ESPN shakes things up in L.A. Jan. 29, 2010

Their online assistant is now their online editor.

Their assistant sports editor is now their lead sports columnist, and their copy desk chief their deputy sports editor.

They’ve hired another internet guy, and the announcement of the hiring of a prep reporter/coordinator, who might work exclusively online half the time, is expected any day.

Yes, saying the Los Angeles Daily News has had to make some adjustments after losing a couple of people to ESPN’s new L.A. Web site is an understatement. But they’re not the only one. The Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register have also been busy filling jobs created when people left for ESPN Los Angeles.

"This is part of what we do," said Daily News Sports Editor Gene Warnick. "People come and go, and you don’t always like to see it happen, but you deal with it.

"But, yes, I think it’s safe to say that the launching of ESPN Los Angeles (espn.go.com/los-angeles/) has created a domino effect for job openings in this area."

For the Daily News, it all started when Internet Editor Ryan Garfat and lead columnist Ramona Shelburne took jobs with ESPN’s latest local site, which is formatted similarly to its other recent sites, ESPN Chicago, ESPN Boston and ESPN Dallas.

In response, assistant online editor Steven Rosenberg was promoted to Garfat’s position, ASE Vincent Bonsignore moved over to lead columnist, and copy desk chief Brian Martin was named deputy sports editor.

"The good news was we had some very good people already within the company who were qualified and ready to step in," Warnick said.

But it still left a few holes. The company hired a new internet person, and they expect to have a new preps reporter/coordinator soon. They’re also considering exclusive online sports responsibilities for one of those new hires at least 20 hours a week.

"There will be a little adjustment, as everyone gets used to each other," Warnick said. "But we’re pretty happy with how it’s all going to look."

Orange County lost just one reporter – Mark Saxon, who was at the paper for six years, most recently as an Angels and USC reporter. Sports editor Todd Harmonson said they are close to filling that job.

The Los Angeles Times didn’t lose anyone from its sports staff, but it did lose two copy editors – Becky Hudson and Jim Barrero – and Vic Seper, a designer.

"We’re hiring behind them," said Times SE Mike James. "We didn’t like losing them, but that’s the kind of thing that happens in the business."

The good news for the Times was it was able to retain several people who had been approached by ESPN.

"We’re still the Los Angeles Times, and we have a certain measure of credibility," James said. "We take that very seriously and we make that clear to the people who work for us and we treat them accordingly. I think this is still a very good place to work."

Harmonson and Warnick both echoed that sentiment. And each said they believed the strength of their papers will help them survive any challenge – from ESPN or elsewhere.

"This is a competitive area," Harmonson said. "And for the right opportunity, yeah, people might leave. You can’t blame them for that.

"But this is a good place to work. So we’ll continue to have good people here. We know that."



GREENSBORO NEWS & RECORD — Gerald Witt moved from the Guilford County government beat to general assignment writer in the sports department at the News & Record.

RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH — The Richmond Times-Dispatch hired part-time sports producer Chris Harris to edit copy, take prep calls and write high school stories for the Web. Chris formerly worked at the Henderson (N.C.) Daily Dispatch.


AURORA BEACON NEWS – Sports editor Chris Sosa has left to paper and accepted a job as a copy editor at the Red Eye, a Chicago Tribune publication. Naperville Sun sports editor Brad Engel is currently also the interim sports editor for Aurora.

NAPERVILLE SUN – Sports writer Patrick Mooney has accepted a job covering Major League Baseball for Comcast SportsNet in Chicago.

TIMES OF NORTHWEST INDIAN— Sports design team leader Ram Luthra has accepted a position as a sports designer at the Dallas Morning News. Luthra, a Fort Worth native who has degrees from Texas Christian and Syracuse, spent 5 ½ years in Munster. He starts in Dallas Feb. 15.


ST. JOSEPH (MO.) NEWS PRESS — Andrew DeWitt joins the News-Press to cover high school sports after graduating from the University of Missouri in December. DeWitt, a Kansas City native, covered Missouri baseball for the Journalism School’s Columbia Missourian. … Sam Robinson joins the
News-Press to cover college sports, mainly the Division II institutions Missouri Western State University and Northwest Missouri State University. Sam is a 2008 Northwest graduate and Kansas City native who previously worked at the Porterville (Calif.) Recorder for 18 months. Previous college sports reporter Rick Dunaway left for a new business opportunity. R.J. Cooper, also a college sports reporter, transferred to the News-Press’ local news desk, where he covers the local county courthouse.

DENVER POST — Patrick Saunders, who has been covering the Colorado Rockies for the past five seasons, has been promoted to online sports editor. Also, Nick Groke, who has been splitting duties on the agate desk, has been promoted to fulltime online sports producer.


CAPE COD TIMES — Amanda Comak joined the Cape Cod Times as a sports reporter/copy editor. She is a Boston University graduate and worked for MLB.com as a reporter covering the Baltimore Orioles. She interned at the Buffalo News as part of the AP Sports Editors Journalism Institute and most recently was at the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder…
Rob Duca, a sports writer and columnist at the Cape Cod Times for 24 years, resigned to pursue other opportunities.

KENNEBEC JOURNAL — Outdoors writer Travis Barrett has left the Kennebec Journal to work for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

TIMES HERALD-RECORD — Judy Connolly is the new sports editor at the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, N.Y.

NEW YORK TIMES — At the New York Times, Tom Connelly was promoted to assistant to the sports editor, replacing Mike Abrams, who moved to a newly created newsroom-wide editing group. Reporters Jack Curry and Joe Lapointe took buyouts and left the Times, as did Elise Goldberg, a copy editor.

WHITE PLAINS JOURNAL NEWS — Kevin Devaney has announced he is leaving the Journal News (White Plains) to take a position with MSG’s new web site, MSG Varsity.


SEATTLE TIMES – Jose Romero resigned after more than 10 years, effective Feb. 11. Romero covered high-school sports, the Seahawks and Sounders FC. He is getting married April 17 and plans to relocate in Phoenix, where he will freelance for The Associated Press, covering the White Sox during spring training.

WALLA WALLA UNION-BULLETIN — Bret Rankin was promoted to sports editor of the Union-Bulletin in Walla Walla, Wash., replacing Jim Buchan, who will work part time in Sports. Buchan was hired as a part-timer by the Union-Bulletin in 1968 and has been sports editor for 31 years.

EVERETT HERALD — Mark Nelson, a part-timer for The Herald in Everett, Wash., has taken over as beat writer for the Washington Stealth, the professional indoor lacrosse team that relocated to Everett this season from San Jose, Calif.

EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD – The Register-Guard lost assistant sports editor Steve Irvin on Jan. 14 when he accepted a job as a labor relations adjudicator/mediator for the Washington State Public Employment Relations Division in Kirkland, Wash. Irvin, who was front-line copy editor in addition to his management duties, had returned to school to earn a master’s degree in that field. He had been at Register-Guard for 13 years.
"To say that I will miss him — his advice, his work ethic, his loyalty to our department, his grace under pressure — is an understatement," said Register-Guard sports editor Ron Bellamy, who has approval to hire a full-time sports editor, probably at a second-year experience level. With the money the newspaper will save by not filling Irvin’s management position, Bellamy plans to hire two part-time sports clerks. This will allow the section, which lost eight full- or part-time sports positions in two rounds of 2009 layoffs, to reinstate high-school agate.

SPOKANE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW — Prep reporter Mike Vlahovich retired from The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., in December. He had worked 17 years at Spokesman-Review and 41 years at newspapers in Spokane. With only part-timers and one remaining full-time prep reporter, Greg Lee, the paper was forced them to pull back on coverage of Northern Idaho.

THE OREGONIAN — Prep writer Doug Binder took The Oregonian’s most recent buyout offer in December. That leaves the paper with only one prep writer on staff. The organization also lost most of its agate staff and now rotates general news clerks through those positions. The Oregonian’s first layoffs are expected sometime in the next two months or so.

 — The Medford (Ore.) Mail-Tribune hired Dan Jones in early January from the Roseburg News-Review for both reporting and desk duties. He replaced Shawn Miller, who accepted a position with a sprint-car racing team.


DOTHAN EAGLE — Micah Lewter, the lead page designer for the Dothan Eagle sports section, has taken a job with West Hawaii Today in Kailua-Kona as a page designer and copy editor for the sports section. Lewter’s last day with the Eagle was Jan. 15.


HOUSTON CHRONICLE — Carlton Thompson, who served as the Chronicle’s sports editor since October 2007, accepted a job as Executive Editor of MLB.com. His last day in Houston was Jan. 8. Thompson worked for the Chronicle for more than 15 years after coming over from the Houston Post. Thompson covered the Astros and the Texans and served as an assistant sports editor before being named sports editor. Jeff Rosen, who spent the past two years as an assistant sports editor, has been named the interim sports editor.


ARIZONA REPUBLIC — Scott Bordow, longtime reporter and columnist at the East Valley Tribune in Mesa, Ariz., was hired by the Arizona Republic to fill a new columnist position that will focus on high school sports. Bordow, who worked for the Tribune for 26 years, had been that newspaper’s lead sports columnist since 1996. A graduate of Arizona State University, Bordow will be the Republic’s voice on high school sports, writing columns and takeouts for the main sports section and the Republic’s community sections, and taking an active role in the company’s evolving online presence.

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER — The Orange County Register hired Eric Stephens to cover the Anaheim Ducks. Eric is an experienced hockey writer who covered the Ducks’ run to the Stanley Cup championship for the Los Angeles Times, and he also worked for the Daily Breeze.

LAS VEGAS REVIEW JOURNAL — Former Las Vegas Sun sports columnist Ron Kantowski has come aboard the Review-Journal, as a part-time columnist and copy editor. Kantowski’s columns appear in Sunday and Tuesday’s sports section.

Todd M. Adams is the Sports Editor of the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. You can reach him at adamst@fayobserver.com or at 910-286-3530.


Mary Byrne

Mary Byrne


Tommy Deas

Tommy Deas

First Vice President
The Tuscaloosa News

Jack Berninger

Jack Berninger

Executive Director
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Bill Eichenberger

Bill Eichenberger

Bleacher Report

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