Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Los Angeles Times Managing Editor S. Mitra Kalita memo to staff

To: The Staff
From: S. Mitra Kalita, Managing Editor
Here are four more reasons the @latimes is #winning.
We are pleased to announce additions to our audience engagement team under the direction of Alexandra Manzano. This will no longer be a team that only tweets or posts to Facebook. Platforms such as Twitter and Facebook are simply one component of our strategy to build readership. For our stories to “do better on social,” we must think about audience and shareability at the outset. Our new colleagues will work across the newsroom to guide experimental storytelling, story selection, distribution and partnerships, and conversations with and among Times readers.
Michelle Maltais becomes deputy director for audience engagement. Together, she and Ali will develop strategies that strengthen The Times’ connection to community and conversation. She’ll also help train staff around the newsroom on new tools and techniques, and resuscitate efforts around our coverage of parenting. Michelle started with the Times in 1996. She has been an award-winning copy editor, multimedia producer, web deputy, the newsroom’s first broadcast manager, a tech blogger and a reader engagement emissary. She earned her bachelor’s from Scripps College and a master’s in journalism from Columbia and is a proud graduate of the Metpro copy editing program. Michelle and her husband live in Baldwin Vista with their two kids, who are already huge fans of the L.A. Times and “Star Wars.”
Dexter Thomas joins us today to cover Black Twitter (which really is so much more complicated than that). He will work closely with the newsroom and #EmergingUS to find communities online (Black Medium to Latino Tumblr to Line in Japan) and both create stories with and pull stories from those worlds. Dexter is from San Bernardino and is a doctoral candidate in East Asian studies at Cornell University. He has taught media studies and Japanese and is writing a book about Japanese hip-hop. He began working in digital media at UC Riverside as a student director of programming at KUCR-FM (88.3), independently producing podcasts, music and news programs. He writes regularly on social justice, Internet and youth culture, and video games.
Annie Yu arrived recently as a producer. She will help define the voice of the L.A. Times and infuse shareability into our journalism through creative storytelling and packaging. Annie joins us after working at ProPublica in New York City as an audience engagement fellow. This video she created became ProPublica’s most successful piece of Facebook content ever. Before that, Annie reported on city hall for the Arizona Republic and local news for the Orange County Register. She is a Bay Area native and graduated from Azusa Pacific University, where she served as editor in chief of the newspaper.
Lisa Biagiotti joins us July 13 in a role straddling video and social. She will work closely with our photo, video, social, RealTime and Metro desks to help make multimedia offerings newsy, creative and shareable. Lisa, a New Jersey native who has been in L.A. for two years, has been an independent journalist and filmmaker. She was an inaugural Sundance New Frontier artist in residence at the MIT Media Lab. Lisa is the director-producer of “deepsouth” (2014), an award-winning documentary about poverty, HIV and LGBTQ issues in the rural American South. Lisa has produced work for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, The Times, PBS and NPR, among other media platforms. Her work in eastern Congo won the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for International Television. In 2001, she received a Fulbright Award to research Italian colonialism in Africa and Muslim immigration patterns throughout Europe. Lisa holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Please join us in welcoming our new hires. Following them on Twitter is a good start @mmaltaisLA,@AnnieZYu@dexdigi and @lisabiagiotti.

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