Roy Gilbert

LA Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine is bullish on his paper’s future

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Poynter President Neil Brown, right, interviews Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine on Saturday night at the Bowtie Ball in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Barbara Allen) Eighteen months since taking over what he likes to call “the largest newsroom west of the Potomac,” Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine said he’s committed to creating a great newsroom for journalists — and making sure his city gets the best of that arrangement.

Pearlstine was in St. Petersburg, Florida, this weekend for Poynter’s annual Bowtie Ball, in which he was honored with the 2019 Distinguished Service to Journalism Award. Poynter also honored Katie Couric with the 2019 Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Journalism.

In an interview with Poynter before the ceremony, Pearlstine said that he worked alongside the team that wanted to unionize his newsroom.

“The leadership of the union and the editorial management team were absolutely in sync about the importance of journalism and the importance of making Los Angeles a place where great journalism and great journalists can feel they’re gonna make a home,” he said. “A lot of the negotiations were not about salary or benefits but what it takes to make a news staff productive.”

Pearlstine said he was familiar with union negotiations, and in fact as a labor writer for the Wall Street Journal’s Detroit bureau early in his career, actually helped write union bylaws.

“I never had an issue with the union,” he said. Referencing years of layoffs and attrition under previous L.A. Times owner Tribune Publishing, […]

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