A prominent journalist of Indian- descent has been fired as the editor of the Los Angeles Times after serving 28 years at the news organisation, as part of a significant shake-up of the American daily’s top management.
Davan Maharaj, who served as both editor and publisher since 2016, was terminated along with other senior editors of the daily.
“Maharaj was terminated along with a handful of other senior editors, including Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin, Deputy Managing Editor for Digital Megan Garvey and Assistant Managing Editor of Investigations Matt Doig,” a report in the LA Times said.
A native of Trinidad, Maharaj began his journey at the paper as a summer intern in 1989 and worked as a reporter in Orange County, Los Angeles and East Africa. He had later served as assistant foreign editor, business editor and managing editor. A six-part series ‘Living on Pennies’ done by Maharaj in collaboration with photographer Francine Orr, won the 2005 Ernie Pyle Award for Human Interest Writing and prompted readers to donate tens of thousands of dollars to support aid agencies in Africa.
While Maharaj was editor, The Times won three Pulitizer Prizes, including for breaking news reporting of the 2015 terrorist attack in San Bernardino.
“During the last 28 years, it has been an honour working with the best journalists in a great American newsroom,” Maharaj said in an email, quoted in the LA Times report.
“They are indomitable, and I wish them well in their continued fight to serve our community. I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” he added.
Ross Levinsohn, a veteran media executive who worked at Fox and had served as interim chief of Yahoo, was named publisher and chief executive of the 135-year-old LA Times.
Jim Kirk, who was publisher and editor of the Chicago Sun-Times until last week, was named interim editor.
The move was announced by Justin C Dearborn, chief executive of Tronc, the parent company of The Times and eight other daily newspapers as part the organisation s plans to invest more resources towards ushering it into the digital age.
The report added that the shake-up came just one month after an investigative report was published in The Times that revealed that the former dean of the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine had partied with a prostitute and drug dealers, including on campus.
Some reporters who had worked on the project approached senior corporate management to express concern that Maharaj and Duvoisin had delayed the story for fear of upsetting USC, which hosts the newspaper’s annual Festival of Books.
Maharaj and Duvoisin had defended the handling of the story, noting that sensitive and complicated articles take months to report, edit and legally review, the report added.