Times editorial page editor to leave the paper

Times Staff Writer

Editorial Page Editor Jim Newton, a 19-year veteran of the Los Angeles Times, will leave the newspaper to return to a book project that he postponed 14 months ago to take his current post, he and Times Publisher David Hiller said Tuesday.

Hiller said that he expected to name a successor in the coming weeks and that Newton would stay on through July “to provide a good transition.”

The publisher announced Newton’s departure in a staff-wide e-mail, and Newton followed a few minutes later with his own e-mail to the newsroom.


Both men noted that Newton had made it clear when he took the job in April 2007 that it would be temporary, as he planned to resume work on a book about the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Newton had taken a leave from The Times several years ago to write his well-reviewed 2006 biography “Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made.”

“Jim is clearly one of the most talented, experienced and highly regarded journalists, editors and authors of an entire generation,” Hiller said in his e-mail, adding: “I am personally grateful to Jim for agreeing to extend his service to The Times when I asked him last year.”

Newton’s message carried praise for his colleagues and the paper, plus a hint of unspecified conflict between him and Hiller.

“It’s clear to me, as it is to everyone, that the paper still has challenges ahead,” Newton wrote.

“The publisher and I have discussed those difficulties, and he is entitled to an editorial page editor who shares his vision on how best to confront them.”

The Times, under pressure to cut costs because of flagging advertising revenue, is widely expected to announce a new round of layoffs or buyouts as early as this month.

Newton, in an interview Tuesday, declined to discuss any disputes with Hiller, saying only: “It seems natural that we would have some disagreements, given the intermingling of our jobs, but I respect David and I don’t leave with any rancor.”

A Palo Alto native and Dartmouth College graduate, Newton, 45, joined The Times in 1989.

He covered federal law enforcement and the Los Angeles Police Department from 1992 to 1997, a period that included the Los Angeles riots and the murder trial of O.J. Simpson. He has won numerous awards for local reporting.