We have it on excellent authority (Update: Apparenlty not - see below) that the new managing editor at the Los Angeles Times is John Arthur (left), currently the assistant managing editor/Page One editor. Arthur will replace current ME Doug Frantz (right), whose departure was announced just yesterday by LAT editor Jim O'Shea. Frantz, a veteran investigative reporter, will be joining the Wall Street Journal as Middle East bureau chief.
Though Baquet's firing last November caused upheaval in the newsroom, the top of the masthead has been steady since the beginning of Baquet's tenure, when he appointed Frantz and Leo Wolinsky as dual managing editors and John Montorio as associate editor back in October 2005. In his memo to staff, O'Shea praised Frantz and thanked him for that stability and "convincing people to give me a chance at a time of uncertainty and turmoil." O'Shea has stuck with stability in appointing Arthur, a twenty-year veteran of the paper.
Frantz will be returning to Istanbul, where he was previously stationed for the LAT when Baquet tapped him back in 2005. O'Shea memo on John Arthur presumably forthcoming; it's too early to rouse anyone at the LAT just yet but like we said, we have this one on excellent authority.
Update: FishbowlDC has reliable sources, too!
Update: Perhaps "excellent authority" was a misnomer: LAT weekend editor Craig Turner informs me that "There's been no such appointment" and that Jim O'Shea is out of town until next Thursday and has not yet begun the process of selecting a new managing editor. Emails to Arthur, O'Shea, and two LAT spokespeople have not been returned (though it's not even 9 a.m. on the West Coast. ETP still stands by our original evaluation of our source, based on what we know, and would not have proceeded with posting had we not been confident in its veracity, but we are prepared to eat crow if the LAT ends up appointing someone else. In the meantime, we just wanted to point out that FishbowlDC heard the same thing (but maybe that only means they had the same source). Which would make it not as reliable as we had presently thought. Either way, our bad and apologies to you, the reader, cruelly misled. We'll leave it to Nikki Finke and Kevin Roderick to get to the bottom of this, which, alas, perhaps we ought to have done to start.
One More Update: Arthur emailed Roderick at LAObserved saying that he hasn't spoken to anyone about the job and that "reports of my ascension are premature — and possibly fabricated." Er, well then. Good to know. We look forward to Arthur's response to our email so he can tell us that, too. In the meantime, we are sticking to the East Coast for the duration.
Final Update, Promise: How can we not print this unequivocal reply from Jim O'Shea? Via email, short but sweet: "Rachel, You are wrong. Jim OShea." Awesome. Go hard or go home, right? Thanks Jim! Have a great vacation!
Baquet goes with two ME's [LA Observed]