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  • in 2005 John Carroll, the editor of the Los Angeles Times, chose to resign rather than continue reducing the number of journalists at the paper?

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John S. Carroll (born 1941 or 1942) is an American newspaper journalist who served as the editor of The Los Angeles Times and The Baltimore Sun. During his tenure The Los Angeles Times won 13 Pulitzer Prizes. Carroll was replaced by Dean Baquet on Aug. 15, 2005.[1]


Early career

Carroll was born in New York City but raised in North Carolina.[2] He attended Haverford College, graduating in 1963. Upon graduation, Carroll went to work as a cub reporter for The Providence Journal but left within a year to serve for two years in the United States Army. In 1966 he was hired by the Baltimore Sun where he covered the Vietnam War, the Middle East and the Nixon Whitehouse. In 1972 he was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard University. The same year, he also took his first editing job for the Philadelphia Inquirer.[3]

Carroll served as an editor at the Inquirer until 1979 when he left for the Lexington Herald, renamed the Lexington Herald-Leader in 1983. Carroll served as editor as well as vice-president of the paper while in Lexington. During his tenure in Lexington, he spearheaded an investigative series of reports titled Cheating Our Children. The series exposed flaws in Kentucky's public education system. The Herald-Leader won two awards for the series, which helped led to the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. The ten reporters involved with the series donated the $26,500 in prize monies from the awards to Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky to establish the John S. Carroll Scholarship Fund to aid needy students from Kentucky's Fifth Congressional District, which is a part of Appalachia. In 1991 Carroll became senior vice-president and editor of the Baltimore Sun. In 1998, he became a vice-president of the Sun's parent company, Times Mirror. In 2000, Times Mirror, which also owned The Los Angeles Times was purchased by the Tribune Company.

In 2000, after nearly 10 years as editor of the Sun Carroll was considering leaving to run Harvard's Nieman Fellowship program. He had already begun house-hunting in Cambridge when he was recruited to be editor of The Los Angeles Times.[3]

The Los Angeles Times

Carroll took over The Los Angeles Times when the paper's morale was said to be at an all-time low.[2] In particular, the credibility of the Times had been hurt by revelations in 1999 of a revenue-sharing arrangement between the Times and Staples Center in the preparation of a 168-page magazine about the opening of the sports arena. The agreement was seen as violating the separation between advertising and journalism at newspapers.[4]

Carroll began by hiring top talent from papers on the East Coast, such as Dean Baquet, the national editor of The New York Times who Carroll appointed as managing editor. Carroll aimed to compete with the east coast papers on major national and international stories. The slogan he wanted for the paper was, "A National Paper from the West."[2]

During Carroll's five years, the newspaper earned 13 Pulitzer Prizes,[1] compared to only 8 in the 1990s. The Pulitzer streak is considered to indicate a dramatic improvement in quality at the paper.[2] In 2004, Carroll hired Michael Kinsley to serve as editorial page editor.

In 2003, however, Carroll began to clash with the Tribune Company's corporate management.[5] Due to struggles in advertising and circulation, Tribune wanted to reduce costs. One proposal was to use stories written by other Tribune newspapers in The Los Angeles Times. Carroll opposed this move because he believed top-tier newspapers write their own stories. The company also wanted to consolidate all the Washington bureaus of its different papers.[5]

Financial pressures continued; during the last year and a half of Carroll's editorship, the stock price of the Tribune Company had declined from $50 to $36. During Carroll's tenure, nearly 200 positions were reduced from the newsroom. In early 2005, Carroll and Baquet went through a difficult round of negotiations with Tribune. Carroll and Baquet reportedly proposed a plan which included staff cuts, but was rejected by Tribune for not going far enough.[1][5]

On July 20, 2005, Carroll announced that he would resign effective August 15, 2005. Baquet reportedly considered resigning as well, but ultimately decided to remain and become the paper's top editor.[1] After leaving The Los Angeles Times Carroll became a Knight Visiting Lecturer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In popular culture

According to creator David Simon, Carroll is the basis for the character of James Whiting on the HBO show The Wire.[6][7]

Journalism honors

From 1994 to 2003, Carroll served on the Pulitzer Prize board. In 2002 he also served as chairman of the board. In 2003 he was elected an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow. In 2004 he received the Committee to Protect Journalists' Burton Benjamin Award for lifetime achievement in defense of press freedom. Also in 2004, Carroll received the American Society of Newspaper Editors Leadership Award.











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