The following announcement was sent on behalf of Los Angeles Times executive editor Kevin Merida and managing editor Sara Yasin:
We’re excited to announce several shifts among our staff that will help stimulate our ambition and enhance our report.
Ben Muessig has been promoted to assistant managing editor for storytelling, a new role intended to spur creative approaches to our craft throughout the newsroom.
As we continue to drive the digital evolution of The Times, we are building out our ability to be fast, smart and distinctive in real time. The Fast Break Desk, our breaking news and trending topics team, has achieved notable early success responding immediately to the stories of the day. To complement that effort, we must also develop unique step-back coverage of the news and topics that matter most to our audiences, in the forms they favor and with timing that keeps us competitive and relevant.
Muessig will work across departments to spark that kind of signature storytelling, employing a range of forms including interactives, reconstructions, profiles, photo and video essays, as-told-tos, vignettes and other story expressions. He will lead an expansion of voice, including essays and first-person writing. And he will oversee Column One, which will continue to be edited by Steve Padilla.
Since joining The Times in 2016, Muessig’s unique story ideas and collaborative approach have played a part in some of the newsroom’s most original pieces, on topics such as the consequences of sea level rise and the reason doughnut boxes are pink. Stories he edited have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and Gerald Loeb Award, and have won The Times general excellence in business coverage recognition from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). Before The Times, Muessig edited at the San Francisco Chronicle and New York Daily News. In his new role, he will report to Shelby Grad.
We are happy to announce two promotions that will enhance Business coverage at The Times.
Jeff Bercovici has been promoted to Business editor. As deputy business editor with a focus on technology, Bercovici has proved himself to be a sharp thinker with an eye for what he calls “oblique angles,” resulting in unique coverage of big stories that sets our newsroom apart. He led The Times’ small but mighty tech team to a win at SABEW in 2021, and has played a key role in bringing new talent into our department. In addition to his editing, Bercovici has written a number of memorable features, Column Ones and book reviews for The Times.
Before joining The Times in 2019, Bercovici served as Inc. magazine’s San Francisco bureau chief. He is a former media reporter and the author of “Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age.” Bercovici will report to Scott Kraft, in the interim, until a new managing editor is named.
Nancy Rivera Brooks has been promoted to deputy Business editor. In her 40-year run with the department, Rivera Brooks has shaped the Business desk’s culture and coverage. Staffers across the newsroom turn to Rivera Brooks for her keen understanding of economics, real estate and the environment. Reporters throughout the department adore her kind management style and her brilliant line editing.
A member of the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame, she has long had a hand in marquee work, as a reporter on The Times’ 1983 Pulitzer Prize-winning series on Latinos in Southern California and as an editor of this year’s Repowering the West project.
Together, they plan to build on the department’s successful coverage of work, wealth and the economy. That includes recent Business high points such as the Pico Project, an investigation into injustices on Tesla’s factory floor and an explanation of how the price of Arizona Iced Tea remains 99 cents.
To bolster coverage of the themes that matter most to our audiences, several reporters will transfer into and out of Business over the coming weeks.
To expand accountability coverage, Kiera Feldman recently joined Business as an investigative reporter. Her “Fumed Out” project was a Loeb winner, and her Column One on the death of a remote worker is a memorable example of Business’ goal to own coverage of the future of work.
To increase Business’ ability to jump on the stories of the day, Times fellow Jaimie Ding will join the department as a general assignment reporter. She impressed editors with thoughtful coverage of the labor movement at gaming companies and skillful shoe-leather reporting; fellow reporters praise her collaborative attitude.
To assemble a unified team covering housing and homelessness, Business real estate reporters Andrew Khouri, Jack Flemming and Roger Vincent will join the California department. Khouri has produced agenda-setting coverage of the housing market, Flemming is one of our most prolific and widely read writers, and Vincent’s expertise on the commercial real estate beat is second to none in Southern California.
To reflect how platforms and content creators are reshaping the entertainment world, Business technology reporter Brian Contreras will join the Company Town team. Contreras has written powerfully on disinformation aimed at Latino Facebook users and the mental health risks of pregnancy content on Instagram.
Bringing together journalists who report on similar topics will broaden the scope of our coverage, foster collaboration and allow us to better deploy our editorial muscle in these vital areas.