The Los Angeles Times is making a major
investment in audience development with a series of new hires and a commitment to experimenting with new forms of content.
Executive Editor Kevin Merida and Managing Editor Kimi Yoshino announced Wednesday the paper’s audience-engagement team is adding 15 positions, essentially doubling its size. Samantha Melbourneweaver, who has served as director of audience engagement, is being promoted to assistant managing editor and joining the newsroom’s senior management team.
In the three years since Melbourneweaver has been at the newspaper, she’s transformed a tiny team of a few audience editors into an influential unit that touches every department and facet of the company’s journalism.
Expanding the audience team will enhance the LAT’s ability to reach new subscribers and extend its impact, Merida and Yoshino said in a memo to staff.
“Elevating this audience-focused role is also a reflection of how important this work is for the Times,” they wrote. “We will add 15 positions — nine to grow the core audience team and an additional six aimed at producing lively, original content that will pop on social platforms from Twitter to Instagram to TikTok and beyond.”
This squad of internet storytellers — a “meme team” — is how Merida and Yoshino described it, is tasked with developing and nurturing new formats and new voice, starting conversations, and building online communities. In addition, the team will seek to establish relationships between the LAT and those who don’t engage with the paper.
“This is a major investment in our digital growth and a critical step toward attracting new readers,” they said in the memo. “The expansion will benefit the entire newsroom and every area of our coverage. In total, the positions include audience and social media editors, SEO and news aggregator producers, social content creators and a user-generated content expert.”