L.A. Times Editor Responds to Jori Finkel Layoff Protests, Petition Gains Signatures

(Courtesy Getty Images)

(Courtesy Getty Images)

Davan Maharaj, editor of the Los Angeles Times, has responded to a letter signed by the heads of 15 Southern California museums that opposed the recent downsizing of arts reporter Jori Finkel.

“Our commitment to intelligent and illuminating reporting of the visual arts in Southern California is in no way diminished,” Mr. Maharaj said.

You’ll find the full letter below, courtesy LA Observed.

From: Maharaj, Davan
Date: July 10, 2013, 5:58:24 PM PDT
Subject: Re: Letter from Southern California Museum Directors

Thank you for your letter regarding the departure of arts reporter Jori Finkel. We know and appreciate that you care passionately about the Los Angeles Times and our coverage of the arts.

Please know that our commitment to intelligent and illuminating reporting of the visual arts in Southern California is in no way diminished.

We recognize that Los Angeles is a creative center of the contemporary art world, in no small part because of your expertise and energy. This is of vital interest to many of our readers. That is why we will continue to provide in-depth coverage of exhibitions, acquisitions, leading artists and curators, and other news about the art scene. Similarly, you will continue to find, in our pages and on our website, robust analysis of museum finances and expansion plans.

We devote more staff resources to the arts than almost any other general news organization in the country. Four reporters and two critics devote a significant portion of their time to art and museum news and reviews. Their work is overseen by a team of editors who are giving these pieces prominent display in our Calendar section, on our Culture Monster blog and, increasingly, on the front page of The Times.

I know that our Arts & Entertainment editor, John Corrigan, has invited some of you to meet with him and his team to discuss coverage of arts and museums. In addition, you can also call John or me directly. For specific story ideas, please contact reporter Mike Boehm.

Thank you again for writing. It is good to be reminded that leaders of the art community in Los Angeles rely on The Times and expect the best from us.

–Davan

Since Mr. Maharaj’s response, support for Ms. Finkel’s re-institution has grown. An online petition has earned 1,500 signatures, among them John Baldessari’s and Doug Wheeler’s. “It’s a gigantic loss,” Mr. Baldessari wrote.

Update, 7 p.m.: The headline of an earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Ms. Finkel had been fired. She was laid off as part of a downsizing at the Times.