Norman Pearlstine is stepping down as executive editor of the Los Angeles Times. In a note to staff on Monday, Pearlstine said, “It has been an honor to serve as your executive editor since Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong acquired the Los Angeles Times in June of 2018. Now, we have agreed that it’s time to begin an open search for my successor.”
Pearlstine resigns after a difficult summer at the Times, which came under criticism for not having a diverse staff and other incidents of toxic and poor leadership. Those were the topics of a recent story by the Times chronicling a summer of scandal and turmoil. The Times also recently published a project called “Our Reckoning With Racism.” That project, which included a letter from Dr. Soon-Shiong and an editorial, addressed issues of historical racism at the Times, and the promise to make the staff more representative of the community it covers.
Pearlstine, who recently turned 78, was originally brought in by Soon-Shiong in February 2018 to help find an editor for the paper. But then he ended up being named editor by Soon-Shiong, who said at the time, “He’s the perfect person to guide us into this new era.”
Before joining the Times, Pearlstine had senior positions at Time, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal. In 2019, Poynter honored Pearlstine with the 2019 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.
In his note to staff, Pearlstine said he has been asked to remain as executive editor during the search for a new one and has accepted an offer to continue as an adviser after a successor is named.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished,” Pearlstine wrote. “I also recognize it’s the right time to find a successor — an editor who embodies the qualities needed to continue The Times’ revival.”
Tom Jones is Poynter’s senior media writer. For the latest media news and analysis, delivered free to your inbox each and every weekday morning, sign up for his Poynter Report newsletter.