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Los Angeles Times Fires Publisher, Three Senior Editors After Reporters Claimed Conflict of Interest in USC Story

Staff Report

Amidst a reporter revolt over the LA Times USC Dean exposé, the Times has fired Publisher Davan Majaraj and three top senior editors replacing them with Ross Levinsohn, who has no newspaper experience, and Jim Kirk, a veteran Chicago based news executive.

Maharaj and company allowed the reporters to use an admitted prostitute, jailed several times for possession and use of drugs, as their primary source of the story and also allowed the reporters to “not reveal” physical evidence related to the story.

The reporters approached top management about the handling of their USC story implicating a conflict of interest between Maharaj, who was the editor and publisher, and USC.

The Times is denying the four were fired because of the investigation but did not reveal its findings.

But the firings are telling: gone is Managing Editor Marc Duvoison, and Assistant Managing Editor for Investigations, Matt Doig.

Levinsohn, who worked at Fox and served as interim chief at Yahoo, was named the publisher and CEO.

Kirk who was publisher and editor of the Chicago Sun-Times was hired as an editor.

Levinsohn resume reads like a digital success story, Levinsohn headed digital operations for Rupert Murdock at Fox and played a big role in creating Hulu.

Most recently he was cofounder of a digital consulting firm.

Levinsohn denied he was there to cut costs and was quoted as saying “nobody came here to manage this business downward.”

The Times is blaming lagging revenues and subscriptions both in the print and digital areas as reasons for the firing.

The Times has hired non-newspaper publishers in the past who subsequently did not last long or left in controversy similar to this current firing.