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New hire, a promotion, and editing help for Entertainment and Arts team

Side-by-side portraits of Paula Mejía, Matt Brennan, Dawn Burkes
Paula Mejía, left, will be an assistant arts editor; Matt Brennan has been named senior editor, television and pop culture; and Dawn Burkes moves into a temporary assistant editor role.

The following announcement was sent by acting Entertainment and Arts Editor Mary McNamara:

I am very happy to make a few exciting staffing announcements at the behest of Julia Turner, who is on maternity leave until October.

First, join us in welcoming Paula Mejía, who has been named assistant editor, arts. Replacing Craig Nakano, she will oversee our stellar team of reporters and critics covering the arts in Southern California and beyond in ways that reflect the changing ways in which artists and audiences create and interact with culture.

For the last two years, Mejía has been a senior editor at Texas Monthly, overseeing the magazine’s cultural coverage online and in print. While there, she worked to amplify marginalized voices, covering local communities and subcultures while exploring large social and cultural shifts. In addition to overseeing regular coverage, she spearheaded ambitious projects, including this year’s package — highlighted in our own Latinx Files — about Selena Quintanilla Pérez and her influence on fashion, music and queer life.

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Previous to that, she was a digital producer at Gothamist, New York Public Radio’s local journalism arm; an associate editor at Atlas Obscura; a culture reporter for Newsweek; and a cofounding editor for NPR Music’s Turning the Tables, a project that subverted the male-dominated musical canon by centering women and nonbinary musicians’ works and received a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media in 2018. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, New York Magazine and Rolling Stone, among other publications, and she is the author of “Psychocandy,” a book about the Jesus and Mary Chain’s seminal work. We look forward to all she can bring to our coverage of one of the world’s most vibrant and influential cultural centers.

Mejía will be moving to Los Angeles and begins work Oct. 18.

Matt Brennan has been named senior editor, television and pop culture. Since joining the Los Angeles Times as television editor a little more than two years ago, Brennan has become an invaluable member of the entertainment team. Under his guidance, our television coverage has become increasingly nimble, innovative and successful online, particularly during the pandemic, when the TV team worked tirelessly to help our readers navigate the new world of, “Well, I guess I’ll watch some more television.”

In his new position, which began Aug. 7, Brennan continues to oversee our television coverage while collaborating with teams across the newsroom to come up with new ways to think about and deliver our television and pop culture coverage in innovative and timely ways to the widest audience possible.

Before joining us, Brennan was the television editor at Paste magazine; worked in a variety of capacities at Indiewire; and, in a previous life, taught high school English. He lives in Los Angeles.

Dawn Burkes will be joining the entertainment staff as a temporary assistant editor. For the next six months, she will be helping us through the various staffing transitions by generating, editing and building stories across sections.

Burkes is currently a member of our fabulous copy desk. Previously, she was the editorial and publishing coordinator for Cinestate publications, including managing editor of Fangoria.com; a reporter, critic and editor at the Dallas Morning News; and an assistant editor and staff writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She lives in Los Angeles and begins her new role Sept. 20.


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