Marks succeeds Todd Martens who will become a critic covering games and immersive entertainment.
The Los Angeles Times has named Craig Marks music editor, responsible for coverage of popular music. Marks will join The Times on April 8 and report to Julia Turner, deputy managing editor responsible for Arts and Entertainment coverage. Todd Martens, Times music editor since 2016, will become a critic covering games and immersive entertainment.
“Los Angeles is legendary in the story of pop music,” Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine said, “and with Craig’s experience as an editor and the diverse specialties among our music staff, we will build on our mix of news, profiles and deep-dives and look to capture the special connection between Southern California and the people who make music.”
Marks has previously been executive editor at Billboard; editor in chief at Spin and Blender magazines; and co-founder and editor in chief of Popdust. Most recently, he was editorial director for Townsquare Media, a radio company that owns and operates several music websites. He is the co-author of “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” and of a forthcoming oral history of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE).
“Craig brings a rare set of editorial talents to this important role,” Turner said. “He has a keen sense for how journalists can explain what music matters, to whom, and why; an ear for great criticism; and a sophisticated understanding of the music business and how it’s changing.”
Marks will lead a team of journalists that includes critic Mikael Wood and staff writers August Brown, Gerrick Kennedy, Randy Lewis and Randall Roberts; he will also work collaboratively within the Arts and Entertainment department and partner with digital, print, video and podcast editors.
“There’s no more exciting and dynamic city for popular music and its machinery, or for journalism itself, than Los Angeles,” Marks said. “It’s an honor to build on the L.A. Times’ decades-long legacy of great music writing and reporting, and to be part of such a promising future.”
Martens joined The Times in 2007 and has previously reported on and edited coverage of music, video games and theme parks. When he passes the music editor baton to Marks, he’ll focus on covering games and immersive entertainment full time. As a critic, Martens plans to explore the influence of games as a defining medium for a whole generation, shaping everything from television to theme parks to theater, and how storytelling within games has become more sophisticated.
“Games have long shaped my life and how I view pop culture,” Martens said. “Instead of reading, my father would stay up late playing old LucasArts adventure games with me, so I have always considered games a narrative medium. That’s where I intend to focus our coverage, looking at how interactive entertainment is changing how we tell stories.”
“One of the great weaknesses of contemporary culture journalism is its inattention to games and gaming,” Turner said. “The Los Angeles Times and its readers are very lucky that Todd will be using his deep knowledge to illuminate this fascinating field.”