ESPN’s Kevin Merida to Lead as Top Editor at Los Angeles Times

Sarah HallamPeople on the Move
Kevin Merida

Kevin Merida will be the 19th editor to lead the Los Angeles Times since 1881. Image Credit: Teresa Kroeger / Getty Images.

The Los Angeles Times has announced that Kevin Merida will be its next top editor after a five-month-long search. Merida succeeds Norman Pearlstine, who stepped down in December 2020.

Merida has been serving as Editor-in-Chief of ESPN’s Undefeated, an award-winning division that covers stories at the intersection of race, culture and sports, since 2015. During his tenure at ESPN, Merida also oversaw its investigative/news enterprise unit, TV shows “E:60” and “Outside the Lines,” and was chairman of ESPN’s editorial board.

He’s no stranger to traditional newsrooms either. Merida spent 22 years at The Washington Post, eventually rising to the role of managing editor. He was integral in the Post’s digital transformation that led to sustained subscriber growth – all factors the L.A. Times took into account for this role.

Merida, who is Black, will become the third person of color to lead the L.A. Times, which has grown to be the largest news organization in the West, with a nearly 500-person newsroom. He will be the 19th editor to take the helm since the paper’s inception in December 1881.

His hire also signals a promise that owners Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong committed when they bought the paper from Tribune Publishing back in 2018. Merida’s hiring brings a step toward increasing newsroom diversity, something the family owners said would be “integral” to the paper’s success.

A respected colleague in the industry with legacy media, broadcast and digital experience, Merida will be tasked with bringing the L.A. Times further into the digital arena. “His mandate will be to maintain the highest level of journalistic strength and find ways to grab the attention of our community … not just Los Angelenos but also readers in the western region and hopefully even the nation,” Patrick Soon-Shiong said in an interview. “We want this paper to grow and be around for another 139 years.”

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