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Austin Knoblauch promoted to assistant sports editor

Portrait of Austin Knoblauch
Austin Knoblauch was most recently a web editor and staff writer. Colleague Sam Farmer says “he is the quintessential team player, someone who never seeks the spotlight yet makes us all look better.”
(Austin Knoblauch)

Sent on behalf of Executive Sports Editor Chris Stone and Deputy Sports Editor Iliana Limón Romero:

We are thrilled to announce that Austin Knoblauch has been promoted to assistant sports editor.

Knoblauch likes to tell the story of his days as a digital producer at the NFL Network, when he would rise at that juncture when late, late night turns to early, early morning and make the commute to his windowless L.A. office. A 12- to 14-hour shift would ensue and, in the late fall and winter, he would return to his car as he had left it. In complete darkness.

There’s a metaphor here, of a tireless news coordinator whose toil and work is conducted behind the scenes, without the fanfare of which he is richly deserving. And although it begins to tell the story of the critical place Knoblauch occupies in our newsroom, we’ll make a more ambitious claim.

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He is the glue of the Sports department.

Renowned in our corner of The Times for his unflinching efficiency, organization and trusted eye and ear, Knoblauch also has a strategic acumen that is responsible for the quantitative and qualitative leaps the department has taken since his return to our newsroom in January 2019, which has included, among many other things, an industry-best 16 finalist nominations in the 2020 APSE Awards and a near-doubling of daily digital conversions since February. He has reshaped how we discuss, assign and present stories and worked closely with his colleagues to help them do their best work.

“One of the defining qualities of Austin is how genial and composed he is, even in high-pressure situations,” says NFL columnist Sam Farmer. “He’s calm and pleasant, and that really helps people on the other end of the phone do their best work. And he’s like that at any hour.

“I remember working with him in 2009 when I was writing a story on a Mount Rainier climb with Roger Goodell, sending Austin cryptic predawn dispatches, photos and videos from the mountain so that he could clean up, organize and post them. He quietly toiled away, unfailingly cheerful and never mentioning the inconvenience of the ungodly hour. He is the quintessential team player, someone who never seeks the spotlight yet makes us all look better.”

This is Knoblauch’s third tour of duty with The Times. He joined the company in 2005 as a part-time worker on the Varsity Times Insider staff, where he was charged with helping compile scores and roundups for area high school games.

Dating to his second chapter with The Times, from 2008-12, he has been involved in virtually every significant digital initiative, including the development of sports-centric blogs, the execution of numerous data visualizations, virtual mock drafts and trackers, the successful relaunch of our Live Blog strategy and the creation of smart, engaging utility journalism.

Knoblauch has lived in Southern California his entire life. He grew up in the northern L.A. County wilderness of Green Valley and graduated from Paraclete High School in Lancaster and Mount St. Mary’s College. He is also the answer to a trivia question: Who sent out the first tweet from the Los Angeles Times Sports Twitter account?

Please join us in congratulating him on his promotion.


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