Alexa Sonnenfeld named L.A. Times chief of staff
The following announcement was sent by Executive Editor Kevin Merida:
I am pleased to announce that Alexa Sonnenfeld will become chief of staff to the newsroom, effective immediately.
This is a new role designed to build on the close relationships Sonnenfeld already has established with newsroom leaders, including helping department heads assess and make progress on goals for their coverage areas. She brings to this role a background in data analytics and a deep understanding of how audiences are interacting with our journalism. She will be a strategic partner for the entire newsroom, assisting in developing a road map of priorities and a blueprint for executing on those priorities.
The opportunities we have here to do bold, new things are greater than ever before, and we must pursue them with intention and tenacity. And also with discipline. Sonnenfeld will hold us — and me — accountable. Her diligence will help us all get more done.
Research and rigor, hallmarks of the best journalism, are essential to helping us center what we pursue and how we pursue it. In two and a half years at The Times, Sonnenfeld has helped many newsroom teams think clearly about audience needs and become savvy users of data. This work is at the heart of making The Times sustainable, long term.
Her focus will be initiatives that don’t fit neatly into one department. That might mean guiding plans to expand existing franchises — the 101, United States of California, Latinx Files, Boiling Point — or getting folks together to sharpen our approach to sprawling, rich topics with boundless potential, such as mental health, influence, spirituality, multiculturalism and the historic vice presidency of Kamala Harris. It might also mean initiating an action plan for an L.A. Times neighborhood mural project or a community journalism pilot in Compton.
Sonnenfeld’s partnership on newsroom-wide goals has helped to anchor us. In her new role, she will refine the process for setting targets, sharing progress and getting to where we need to be.
Sonnenfeld will report to me, but she will be a resource for the entire newsroom. Loop her into the thought process for new ideas, and how to interrogate them utilizing data.