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Now Kinsley’s perch looks precarious. After all, Carroll was Kinsley’s hirer, protector and defender, and Kinsley’s previous employers, Slateand TheNewRepublic,did not prepare him for a workplace where corporate meddling is the rule, not the exception.
Meanwhile, Carroll was one of newcomer Joel Stein’s biggest fans. Again, without that protection from on high, it remains to be seen whether the imbecilic columnist, king of conflict of interests with showbiz and much derided by readers, can also hang onto his gig.
Carroll, the white-haired veteran of the BaltimoreSunand the Lexington[KY]Herald-Leader,seems to have been universally liked and admired by LATers,as much for his congenial presence as his editorial leadership. “I would say most people, including myself, are sorry to see him go,” one writer told me today. “He actually knew my name, made a point of walking through the newsroom on a regular basis, and we’d chat about stuff when I’d run into him in the employee cafeteria. He was the kind of editor you could tell spent a lot of years as a reporter.” On the other hand, Carroll lost tremendous ground with readers, and the paper’s circulation penetration is now more miserable.
Like his former boss, Baquet — a Louisiana native who lives in Santa Monica with his family and won a Pulitzer while at the ChicagoTribune— is liked and admired both personally and professionally within the newsroom.
“I am a Dean Baquet fan for selfish reasons,” a writer tells me. “I’ve never had a managing editor at the LATwho gave a damn about what I do. He’s the only guy at the paper, if he left or resigned or got fired, that we would all be crushed to see go.” Said another scribbler: “He’s a remarkable person in that he seems to create almost no hard feelings and no enemies. He’s obligingly had lunch with everyone and listens attentively, so all of my experiences are unsettlingly positive. I say that because I’m nervous about anyone who’s so likeable.” Clearly it’s a coup for the LATto have one of the most prominent African-American media members now leading its newsroom, especially since the paper has a shameful history of ignoring black and other minority issues. Dubbed Mr. Smooth for his usually cool and elegant demeanor, the onetime NYTnational editor is also a fearsome competitor, especially when it comes to his former employer.
For instance, I reported a year ago that Baquet went ballistic after four superstar LATjournalists defected in one week to the NYT,and threw a temper tantrum when entertainment-industry editor-writer Michael Cieply was even consideringa job offer from there. After all, Baquet himself had organized a “Go West” migration of a handful of prominent reporters and editors from the NYTto the LATstarting in 2000. According to the Business section buzz, Baquet was threatening to throw Cieply out of the building or, at the very least, insist Cieply go home pronto until he’d decided what to do. Finally, when Cieply decided to take the NYTjob, it was gently suggested to him that he pack up his office over the Fourth of July weekend when Baquet wouldn’t be around.Email at firstname.lastname@example.org