Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Official Farewell to LAT Martin Beck

From: Bermudez, Shirley
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 1:50 PM
To: yyeditall
Subject: Message from Jimmy Orr


You may have already heard this on social media, but a tweet or a post on Facebook just wouldn’t do this announcement justice.

After spending most of his journalism career with The Times, our social media chief, Martin Beck, will be leaving us. He will be joining Third Door Media to write for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land, one of the top sources reporting on the rapidly changing fields of search, social media and related digital trends.

In the last four years, Martin has guided us steadily into an era in which social sites have become a major platform for news, one that rivals search in volume and exceeds it as a source of engaged readers of our journalism.

Martin has led our efforts to grow our presence and engagement in social media. During Martin’s tenure, our brand-level social media presence soared, with annual growth of 2,600% in the number of likes on the Times’ Facebook page and follower growth of 320% on the @latimes Twitter account.

Our newsroom is indebted to his training and organization. He’s also supervised the too-often-thankless task of wrangling our readers and their often-outlandish comments, and helped usher in an improved comment system. This was not the first time Martin helped bring technology to our newsroom. Most of us in the last decade have had an experience of being rescued by Martin on one thing or another.

He was one of the pioneer “web deputies” helping to integrate the website and print newsroom, especially in Science, Health, Environment, Obituaries and Metro. Before that, he was a key member of the News Operations department and the CCI “swat team” implementation.

He started at The Times in Orange County Sports in 1989, working for 12 years as a reporter, copy editor and designer, not long after he earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics from UC Irvine.

Martin will be sorely missed, but we’re fortunate that he has helped build a solid team of Stacey Leasca, Lindsay Barnett and Michelle Maltais, who will continue our charge into reader engagement. Stacey, who joined us last year from Global Post, will continue to focus on enhancing our social reach with Lindsay’s help, and Michelle, who has also been in the forefront of integrated technology and journalism, will take over the community management duties and usher in the new comment system. You’ll hear more about that soon.


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