Kevin Merida Named Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times has named Kevin Merida executive editor. Merida succeeds Norman Pearlstine who was The Times’ executive editor until Dec. 2020 when he became senior advisor to the executive chairman, Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong.
“We are elated to welcome Kevin to the Los Angeles Times,” Patrick and Michele Soon-Shiong, owners of The Times, said in a statement. “Kevin possesses a clear understanding of the rigor necessary for independent journalism and how to translate that journalism to multiple platforms. He also shares our passion for the unique opportunity we have to build the L.A. Times into a media enterprise with a distinct West Coast point of view.”
Merida has served as a senior vice president at ESPN and editor-in-chief of The Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture, since November 2015. Under his leadership, The Undefeated launched within and expanded across the Walt Disney Co. with a content portfolio that includes award-winning journalism, documentaries and television specials, music videos and albums, live events and digital talk shows, and two bestselling children’s books. During his tenure at ESPN, he also oversaw the Investigative/News Enterprise unit, the television shows “E:60” and “Outside the Lines,” and chaired ESPN’s Editorial Board.
“I am excited to be the next executive editor of the L.A. Times, and will bring with me an open heart, a penchant for experimentation and a fiercely competitive spirit,” said Merida. “Looking forward to partnering with new colleagues and soaring to greater heights together.
“It was a privilege to lead The Undefeated and work with such an extraordinary collection of talent across ESPN and the Walt Disney Co.,” Merida continued. “I am grateful for all that I learned and all that we accomplished during the past five and a half years, and euphoric about the future.”
Currently based in Washington, D.C., Merida will relocate to Los Angeles and officially assume his role at The Times in June, when he’ll become the 19th editor of the 139-year-old news organization. The Times has been honored with 47 Pulitzer Prizes, co-produces an Emmy-winning daily television news magazine, creates and distributes a variety of successful podcasts, and presents a range of live events as an extension of its journalism. As executive editor, Merida will lead the largest newsroom west of the Potomac and will be responsible for identifying and developing additional platforms and products under the L.A. Times umbrella.
“The Los Angeles Times has consistently produced ambitious journalism and is one of the few counterpoints to the East Coast-centric news media in the national conversation,” said President and Chief Operating Officer of The Times Chris Argentieri. “We’re honored to welcome Kevin to Los Angeles where he’ll help lead the continued transformation of The Times.”
Prior to joining ESPN, Merida worked for the Washington Post, beginning in 1993, and held a variety of roles, most recently as managing editor for news, features and The Post’s Universal News Desk. During his tenure as managing editor, he helped lead The Post to four Pulitzer Prizes, and the newspaper embarked on a digital transformation that made it one of the fastest growing news organizations in the country.
His journalism career began in 1979, after graduating from Boston University and attending the Maynard Institute’s Summer Program for Minority Journalists at UC Berkeley, when he became a general assignment reporter for the Milwaukee Journal. He then worked for the Dallas Morning News in different roles, ultimately as assistant managing editor for national and foreign news.
Merida is co-author of “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” and the bestselling “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.” He is a contributor to and editor of the anthology, “Being A Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril,” based on an award-winning Washington Post series he led. He serves on the Pulitzer Prize Board, the Boston University Board of Trustees, and the boards of WBUR, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, the Wallace House at the University of Michigan, and the Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities at Simmons University.
Merida is married to award-winning former Washington Post columnist and author Donna Britt. They have three sons: Justin and Darrell, who live in L.A., and Skye, who is moving there.