Pawel Ponders Future at L.A. Times

By PAT MAIO
Staff Reporter

Expect at least a few more changes in the newsroom of the Los Angeles Times.

With Michael Kinsley becoming editorial and opinion editor and Janet Clayton leaving that post to be assistant managing editor in charge of local and regional coverage, the next question is what happens to Miriam Pawel, who Clayton will replace in June.

In a meeting last Wednesday with senior editors and section editors, Carroll said Pawel was being groomed for a bigger role at the paper but offered no indication of where she would land.

Pawel said she is considering three offers in the Times organization, including two that would give her "masthead-level editing" recognition while the third is "completely different."

Kinsley's is the fourth position on the masthead, following Publisher John Puerner, Carroll and Dean Baquet, the managing editor. Baquet, who Carroll hired from The New York Times, is considered by many Times-watchers to be in line to replace Carroll in the next couple of years.

Reached at her Pasadena home, Pawel declined to discuss the offers, saying she was taking a long-overdue vacation to think about her next move.

"My current plan is stay with the Times," she said. "I'm taking a little time off and think about what I'll do next and the opportunities, and what I really want to do."

Pawel, 46, was recruited by Carroll from Newsday in New York in 2000, shortly after Tribune Co. acquired the Times. Tribune owns both papers. In May 2001, she helped launch the California section, which consolidated the Times' local, regional and state news into one section.

Known as a well-organized editor who likes to take quick charge on complex reporting projects, Pawel oversaw the team at Newsday that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the crash of TWA Flight 800. Just last month, the Times won a Pulitzer for coverage that Pawel led of last year's wildfires in Southern California.

In reflecting on her work at the Times, Pawel pointed to last year's coverage of the recall election. "It was sort of a 90-day marathon that taxed the resources of the paper as a whole," she said.

While Pawel is generally admired for her journalistic prowess, she has ruffled a number of feathers among the local reporting ranks and led several staff members to seek reassignment to other parts of the paper. "There were a lot of happy smiles today," said one copy editor in describing Pawel's move out.

Implicit in her repositioning is the shifting in other newsroom staff. Carroll did not return calls.

Kinsley, 53, had been the editor of the New Republic and Harper's magazines, and was founding editor of Slate, the online magazine. Clayton, 48, had served as editor of the editorial pages since 1995.

The changes become effective June 14, although Kinsley will divide his time between L.A. and Seattle, where he lives. Kinsley's wife, Patty Stonecifer, runs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Kinsley, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early 1990s, told The New York Times that his health did not factor in his desire to divide his time. Still, when he relinquished his post as editor of Slate in 2002, he said his health had influenced the decision.

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