Readers' Representative Journal
A conversation on newsroom ethics and standards
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,...

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Staff news: Brandi Grissom, Amy Fiscus, Melody Petersen join L.A. Times

Times editors have announced three additions to the newsroom staff -- enterprise editor; an assistant editor in Washington, D.C.; and an aerospace reporter: 

From Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin:

As managing editor of the nonprofit Texas Tribune, Brandi Grissom has been a force for outstanding investigative journalism. So we’re thrilled to announce that she is heading to Los Angeles to join The Times’ Metro staff.

As Enterprise Editor, Brandi will help editors in Metro shoulder the workload of investigative and enterprise editing. She’ll also use her organizational and digital skills to help us plan and manage our projects more effectively. She will report to Shelby Grad.

The Texas Tribune focuses on investigative, policy and political reporting. Brandi has worked at the news site since it launched in 2009.  She knows her way around data and video, and she has excelled as both an investigative reporter and editor.

“Hurting for Work,” a recent series she...

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Staff news: Shelby Grad to oversee local coverage; Kim Murphy to head national/foreign

A memo to the newsroom from Times Editor Davan Maharaj and Managing Editor Marc Duvoisin:

Today we announce a reorganization involving three of our most important news departments. These changes will advance our efforts to produce a digital report second to none, and reaffirm our commitment to first-rate accountability and enterprise journalism.

We also announce, with decidedly mixed emotions, that Foreign Editor Mark Porubcansky is leaving The Times after 16 years as a mainstay of our international coverage.  More on that later.

Here are the details on the leadership changes:

California news

Shelby Grad becomes assistant managing editor for California news.

Shelby brings many valuable qualities to this important role: a deep knowledge of our city and state, a fire for accountability journalism, a relentless work ethic and fluency in digital journalism.

He succeeds Ashley Dunn, who is moving to the national desk after three and a half years leading Metro. As deputy national editor,...

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Staff news: Neal Leitereg joins Times' new Hot Property blog

Times Business Editor Kimi Yoshino announced the debut of the Hot Property blog, and the addition of reporter Neal Leitereg. Here's her memo to the staff:  

Since its inception in 1984, Hot Property has been a trailblazer for celebrity real estate news – a Times hallmark emulated by numerous other outlets in print and online. As it nears its 30th anniversary, Hot Property is undergoing an exciting expansion.

Neal Leitereg, who made a name for himself breaking sports celebrity news at Realtor.com, has joined The Times’ Business staff. He’s teamed with veteran Hot Property columnist Lauren Beale and real estate editor Peter Pae to launch a Hot Property blog that will be a must-read destination for celebrity real estate news.

The Hot Property coverage will include many new features:

Real estate transactions of all-star athletes and high-profile executives. Home of the Day – spotlighting the most spectacular houses on the market around Southern California and beyond. Throwback Thursday –...

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L.A. Times updates newsroom ethics guidelines

The Los Angeles Times has updated its newsroom ethics guidelines. The guidelines, which apply to all Times journalists as well as freelancers, were last revised in 2011. The guidelines are publicly available at latimes.com/ethics.

LOS ANGELES TIMES ETHICS GUIDELINES

June 2014

INTRODUCTION

The goal of the Los Angeles Times is to publish news and information of the highest quality. This requires The Times, across its entire portfolio of editorial products, to be, above all else, a principled news organization. Making it so is the responsibility of every staff member.

In deed and in appearance, journalists at The Times must keep themselves — and the organization — above reproach.

Credibility, a news organization’s most precious asset, is arduously acquired and easily squandered. It can be maintained only if each of us accepts responsibility for it. The ways a news organization can discredit itself are beyond calculation; these guidelines do not purport to cover them all. It is best to...

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Staff news: W.J. Hennigan to cover Pentagon; Josh Rottenberg joins Calendar

The Times this week announced two staffing moves: W.J. Hennigan, who has been a Times Business reporter since 2009, is moving to Washington, D.C., to cover the Pentagon. And Josh Rottenberg, a reporter at Entertainment Weekly, is joining the Calendar staff as a senior film reporter. The announcement memos follow.

W.J. Hennigan

W.J. Hennigan, a terrific and award-winning reporter on the L.A. Times Business staff, will be joining the Washington, D.C., bureau this summer as a Pentagon correspondent. Bill joined The Times in 2009 and has spent much of his time focusing on Southern California’s aerospace and defense industries, which will stand him in good stead as he takes on the broader field of covering the U.S. military.

In the last year, Bill has written memorably about budget battles between manned and robotic fighter planes, electronic warfare technology, efforts to repair and resurrect a badly damaged B-2 bomber and a pair of guys who comb through the Mojave desert looking for...

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