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LA Times hires ESPN's Kevin Merida as executive editor

LA Times hires ESPN's Kevin Merida as executive editor
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The Los Angeles Times has picked ESPN’s Kevin Merida as its new executive editor, the paper announced Monday. 

Merida, who has been the editor-in-chief of the ESPN division named Undefeated since 2015, starts in the new role in June. He will be the third person of color to hold the position and just the 19th editor since the paper was founded in 1881.

The Los Angeles Times has been without an executive editor since December, when Norman Pearlstine quit the job. 

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Earlier that year, Pearlstine had resisted calls for his resignation from current and former LA Times staff members who were upset about the lack of diversity under his watch.

The hiring of Merida, who is Black, was proof of owner Patrick Soon-Shiong’s promise to increase newsroom diversity, the paper said.

In addition to running Undefeated, Merida managed ESPN’s investigative/news enterprise unit and was chairman of ESPN’s Editorial Board. He also has a long history working for newspapers prior to joining ESPN.

ESPN has named Managing Editor Raina Kelley, who worked closely with Merida, as the new editor-in-chief of "Undefeated."

“We will miss him, his passion, creativity, thoughtfulness, expertise, and the incredible insights he brought to all of us," said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content.

Before ESPN, Merida spent nearly 23 years at The Washington Post starting as a congressional correspondent and ending his tenure there as a managing editor.

Prior to the Post, Merida worked as a reporter and an editor for The Dallas Morning News for 10 years.

-- Updated 6:36 p.m.