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Jeffrey Fleishman returns to reporting; Alan Zarembo promoted to Foreign-National editor

Portraits of Jeffrey Fleishman and Alan Zarembo
Jeffrey Fleishman, left, who has led the department the last few years, has asked to go back to his reporting roots in a beat that will examine cultural cross-currents in the U.S. Stepping into his leadership role is Alan Zarembo, a former foreign correspondent and current assistant editor with the team.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The following announcement was sent on behalf of Executive Editor Kevin Merida and Editor at Large Scott Kraft:

We are excited to share the news that Jeffrey Fleishman, who has skillfully led our Foreign and National teams through more than two years of global wars and domestic strife, will be returning to writing later this month, bringing his exceptional eye to capturing the cultural cross-currents in America.

We are equally thrilled that Alan Zarembo, a gifted editor on Fleishman’s team and a former foreign correspondent, will become the new Foreign/National editor of The Times on Aug. 22.

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Zarembo takes on this task at a key moment for our national and foreign coverage, which has over the last two years drawn increasingly large audiences. The ambitious work of this talented team of correspondents remains vital to our mission. In the coming weeks and months, he will be developing and implementing plans to elevate national and foreign coverage, utilizing new resources, identifying cutting-edge themes for coverage and continuing to experiment with storytelling and voice. Zarembo will provide more details on his plans as they unfold.

Over the last seven years, Zarembo has edited some of our most important stories, including our coverage of Latin America, where he once served as the Mexico bureau chief for Newsweek.

He joined The Times in 2003 and spent a dozen years as a science writer and investigative reporter, covering a broad range of topics, from stem cells to organ transplantation, from the fertility industry to climate change. He won internal L.A. Times editorial awards for his groundbreaking stories on the troubled national transplant system and a four-part series on the explosion in autism diagnoses and disparities in public spending on the disorder. He also was part of The Times’ team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the San Bernardino terror attack.

Since becoming an editor on the foreign and national desk, he has led some of our most insightful work, specializing in pieces that capture the complexity of life through deep reporting and expert storytelling. Among the dozens of memorable stories he has edited was the tale of a choir practice that became a deadly super-spreader event early in the pandemic. That article, reported by Richard Read, originated as a tip from one of Zarembo’s old sources and remains one of the most-read stories in the history of latimes.com.

Zarembo came to The Times from Newsweek’s Mexico City bureau following a Knight Fellowship, and before that he spent almost four years as a freelancer in central Africa, where he won the Livingston Award for a story in Harper’s Magazine about the Rwandan genocide. He began his career as a local government reporter for the Daily News in Longview, Wash.

Now, a few words about Fleishman.

We have admired Fleishman’s inspired leadership of our foreign and national coverage. The foreign correspondents he and the assistant editors have worked with have done outstanding reporting often at great peril, including in war zones in Afghanistan and Ukraine, and he played an important role in this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Marcus Yam. He also launched our Global California effort and oversaw important, original enterprise from Asia and Latin America, including the series “In China’s Shadow” and “The World They Inherit.”

At home, our band of national correspondents has consistently produced award-winning coverage of breaking news as well as insightful enterprise on the biggest topics facing the country. While this can be said of so many in our newsroom, it should not go unmentioned how versatile, resourceful and dedicated this team of correspondents is — and how Fleishman has met and led them through such a vast and ambitious range of coverage.

When Fleishman asked to return to reporting after nearly three years as an editor, we realized it was an opportunity to take advantage of another of his well-established gifts. He had come to editing from Calendar, where he was admired for his in-depth profiles and lyrical pieces on a nation in the midst of cultural change. Not surprisingly, he brought a foreign correspondent’s eye to that work.

Fleishman joined The Times in 2002 from the Rome bureau of the Philadelphia Inquirer and moved to Berlin, which he used as a base to cover the Gulf War and other major stories. Later, as our Cairo bureau chief, he led coverage of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. Fleishman also has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist in feature writing and a Nieman fellow. He is the author of five novels — the latest, “Good Night, Forever,” the last part of a trilogy set in downtown Los Angeles, was published this month.


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