Readers' Representative Journal A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards
Winners of the L.A. Times' 2014 Editorial Awards

The Los Angeles Times' Editorial Awards for 2014 were presented Wednesday evening in a ceremony that honored the newsroom's commitment to excellence and to the search for truth.

"Ours is a newsroom that’s relevant, passionate and diligently serving readers," Editor Davan Maharaj said. "Who else would have spent countless hours turning the handwritten names of L.A.’s unclaimed dead into a database so that people can find their loved ones?

"Who else would have pored over mounds of records to tie fire captains to relatives and reveal long-suspected nepotism in the L.A. Fire Department?

"Who else would have spent 18 months braving drug cartel bosses in the back roads of Mexico to expose modern day slavery? Stories that will bring better working and living conditions for millions of Mexican workers.

"And along the way, we’ve told the stories about how Angelenos and people in our region live. About arts and entertainment, Sports and the California lifestyle."

The winners:

Beat reporting: Sergei...

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Angel Rodriguez named L.A. Times sports editor

Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin have announced that Angel Rodriguez is The Times' new sports editor.

Rodriguez comes to The Times from the Washington Post, and previously was sports editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer and home page manager of the Arizona Republic. And as a member of ESPN, he helped launch the Spanish-language ESPNdeportes.com. 

Rodriguez has been a leader in online journalism, using digital tools to help reshape and expand sports reporting. He will bring these skills to The Times' Sports department and help extend its digital reach. 

The announcement follows: 

To the staff:

We’re delighted to announce that Angel Rodriguez, an editor with a passion for sports and a flair for digital storytelling, is the new sports editor of the Los Angeles Times.

Angel covered Major League Baseball and the NBA for Spain’s EFE news service. He was part of the team that launched ESPNdeportes.com, the Spanish-language sports website. He was an online sports producer...

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L.A. Times expands leadership, adds Mitra Kalita as M.E.

Times Publisher Austin Beutner and Editor Davan Maharaj have announced an expansion of the newsroom leadership and the hiring of S. Mitra Kalita as managing editor for editorial strategy. Their announcement follows. 

To the staff:

The news environment and the needs of readers are changing more rapidly than at any time in the history of our industry. The Los Angeles Times should do more than keep pace with that change; we must strive to lead it. 

To that end, we are expanding the newsroom leadership and announcing an important new hire. These moves continue our efforts to create a newsroom of the future that can innovate even as we deliver robust digital and print coverage for our readers.

The newest member of our leadership team is S. Mitra Kalita. A creative force behind the business news site Quartz, with a background in traditional journalism as well, Mitra will join The Times as managing editor for editorial strategy. She will focus on helping us remake how the newsroom works and on...

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Dislike a comment? The button is back

By popular demand, the "dislike" button is back as a feature in the comments sections of latimes.com. 

As of today, an up arrow and a down arrow appears below each comment, next to the "reply" and "share" buttons. If you hover over them, you'll see the option to "like" or "dislike" the comment.

We heard from a number of readers when we switched commenting platforms last year that having the ability to simply click a button to register a response to a certain comment allowed more engagement within the commenting forums.

Let's face it, sometimes "thumbs down" is all you really want to say. And posting a rebuttal takes a commitment of time, thought and conviction.   

Clicking "dislike" on latimes.com will allow commenters to quickly express their dissent on a particular comment, and the number of dislikes a comment receives will appear next to the number of likes.

However, the act of disliking a comment will have no effect on where the comment is displayed. So there won't be any actual downvoting...

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2014 marked by explanatory, accountability journalism

Dear Readers,

As we embark on a new year, I want to take a moment to thank you for reading and to look back at the highlights of 2014.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times continued its tradition of delivering agenda-setting coverage of local, state, regional, national and international news. Our reporters and editors held officials accountable and touched readers. Our recent “Product of Mexico” series demonstrated The Times' vital role in the American conversation.

Thanks to our digital efforts — which included a relaunch of our website that made us one of the first major news organizations to offer a fully responsive design — we were more widely read than at any time in our 133-year history.

Your support made this outstanding journalism possible:

— We relaunched the California section as a showcase for our beat reporting, our analytical skills and our deft writing.

— We gave the most complete accounting to date of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's intervention in the case of the son of his good...

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Renewal scam targets L.A. Times subscribers

Los Angeles Times subscribers have been receiving what appears to be an annual renewal notice, but at a rate about 40% higher than the actual cost.

An article in Wednesday's LATExtra section said that about 500 subscribers so far have reported receiving the fraudulent mailings.

The notice marked "Notice of renewal/New order" says it is from Readers Payment Service or Publishers Distribution Services and indicates that it is for "364 issues 1 yr(s)" of the Los Angeles Times.  It reads:

"Your subscription to LOS ANGELES TIMES is automatic with receipt of your payment when you choose to renew or order a new subscription. Fortunately, by acting now, you can lock in at one of our lowest rates!"

That rate is listed as $799.95 – which is about 40% higher than The Times' published annual subscription rate.

"Pretty sure this is a scam," one subscriber in Los Angeles wrote in an email to The Times, "but if it is not, then we won’t be renewing anytime soon."

She included a copy of her notice, which...

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