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Kevin Merida. Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images.
Kevin Merida. Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images.

Kevin Merida, the "revolutionary" new editor of the Los Angeles Times

The veteran journalist will lead the newspaper after a year of protests over the lack of diversity in the newsroom.  

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He was the Post's first African-American editor and now journalism heavyweight Kevin Merida is coming to the LA Times to make history as its new executive editor, after his appointment became effective on Monday. 

Merida, 64, had been editor-in-chief of ESPN's "The Undefeated" division since 2015 and from next June will be in charge of "transforming" the country's largest West Coast newspaper into a digital powerhouse. 

The Los Angeles Times has been without an editor since December 2020, when Norman Pearlstine resigned over the controversy caused by the lack of diversity in the newsroom, when more than 60 Hispanic journalists demanded greater Latino representation at the publication.

The journalists claimed in their letter that of the more than 500 employees of the LA Times, only 65 were Latino, 12.9 %, when almost 50 % of the population of Los Angeles County is Hispanic.

According to the LA Times, the hiring of Merida, the third person of color to serve as executive editor in the paper's history, is part of owner Patrick Soon-Shiong's commitment to increasing the diversity of the newsroom.

"I am delighted to join the Los Angeles Times. I'm going to do everything I can to make this the best media outlet for the people of California, Los Angeles and beyond," Merida said, adding that the paper can become the most innovative media company in the country.

Merida, who has both grown up in the traditional press and led the way in digital newsrooms, won four Pulitzers as editor of The Post, and when he moved to ESPN in 2015 to run The Undefeated, a site focused on the intersectionality of sports, race and culture, some of his collaborators followed him, including 2020 Pulitzer finalist for criticism for her work on "The Undefeated" Soraya Nadia McDonald.

Indeed, one of his great achievements in the digital field was to take a seemingly stagnant digital publication with a disgruntled staff and turn it into a revolutionary project with a well-established identity in just two years, as celebrated black athletes took up their activism in the context of BLM and the struggle for social justice in the wake of George Floyd's assassination. 

Last year, Kevin Merida received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists and was elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board in December.

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