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Times Names Editor to Oversee Websites

October 06, 2005|From a Times Staff Writer

Seeking to better align the Los Angeles Times newsroom and its websites, Editor Dean Baquet announced Wednesday that he was naming Joel Sappell to a new masthead position as assistant managing editor and executive editor, interactive.

Sappell, 52, will oversee editorial content on and, as well as interactive initiatives such as, an entertainment awards site to be launched in November. He will report to Baquet and Robertson Barrett, general manager, interactive.

Calling the interactive realm vital to the newspaper's future, Baquet said Sappell's experience in local news and entertainment coverage made him well-qualified for the job.

"It has become clear over time that is a different animal, but one that should be guided by the same bedrock principles as the newsroom," Baquet said. "It is a testament to the importance of the Web that we are placing one of our most creative and aggressive editors in charge of the editorial part of the site."

Since 2002, Sappell has led The Times' entertainment business coverage as senior entertainment editor. He also edited the newspaper's coverage of the groping allegations against Arnold Schwarzenegger during the 2003 gubernatorial recall election. From 1997 to 2002, Sappell was metro projects editor.

As city editor from 1994 to 1997, Sappell directed coverage of the O.J. Simpson case and helped oversee The Times' Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake. He was also a member of a second team that won a Pulitzer Prize for The Times' coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

A native of Los Angeles, Sappell joined The Times in 1981 as a metro staff writer specializing in investigative reporting. The following year, a series of stories on intelligence-gathering abuses by the Los Angeles Police Department won him and a colleague a George Polk Award.

"I'm excited about the prospect of tapping into the quality and breadth of The Times to vastly broaden our audience across the Internet," Sappell said. "We're committed to an interactive future that captures the vibrancy and complexity of Southern California and the world beyond."

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