News Leadership 2004

ASNE recognizes Los Angeles Times editor for leadership

Posted 3/24/2004 3:00:00 PM

The American Society of Newspaper Editors has selected John S. Carroll, editor of the Los Angeles Times, as the recipient of its annual ASNE Leadership Award. The award will be presented at the Society’s April 20-23 convention in Washington.

Carroll was selected for the award because of his 40-year track record of quality journalism, which was punctuated this year by his decision to pursue allegations that then gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger had groped more than a dozen women during his reign as one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

The Los Angeles Times lost more than 10,000 subscribers in the days following the Schwarzenegger stories. "At the risk of offending more readers," Carroll wrote in an opinion piece published in the paper, "I’ll say that if you’re put off by investigative reporting, this probably won’t be the right newspaper for you in the years to come."

"One of the reasons I’m gratified at receiving this award is that it’s being presented by people who’ve known me and my work for years," Carroll said. "I’m heartened that my friends and colleagues feel I’m worthy of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing them."

"John Carroll is an extraordinarily appropriate winner, for all his great works over the years in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Lexington and Philadelphia, but in particular for personal leadership in the Times’ coverage of Arnold Schwarzenegger and its aftermath," said Peter Bhatia, ASNE president and executive editor of The Oregonian in Portland. "He stood tall for journalistic principle, for his newspaper and, ultimately, for doing the right thing."

Gil Thelen, chair of the ASNE Leadership Committee and president and publisher of The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune, said the committee was impressed by Carroll’s recent contributions to excellence that are consistent with a career of outstanding leadership. The committee reviewed a list of nominees and recommended Carroll’s selection to Bhatia and two previous ASNE presidents, Diane McFarlin, Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribine, and Tim McGuire, Plymouth, Minn., who unanimously endorsed the choice.

"John Carroll’s direction of the Arnold Schwarzenegger story at the Los Angeles Times was the latest example of his contributions to hard-hitting journalism over 40 years," Thelen said. "His exacting standards as editor helped first the Lexington Herald-Leader, then the Baltimore Sun and now the Times reach higher levels of professional achievement and public service."

Carroll was editor of the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader from 1979-1991, guiding the paper to two Pulitzer Prizes. He then moved to the The Sun in Baltimore, where he was editor from 1991 to 2000, leading the paper to two Pulitzer Prizes. The Los Angeles Times has won six Pulitzer Prizes in his tenure there. He began his career as a reporter for the Providence (R.I.) Journal-Bulletin in 1963. He worked at The Sun in Baltimore from 1966-72 including stints as a correspondent from Viet Nam, the Middle East and the White House. He held several newsroom leadership positions at The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1972-79.

The Leadership Award was first given in 2002 to recognize the leaders who guide America’s newspapers. Past recipients of the award are Paul Steiger, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, and H. Brandt Ayers, editor and publisher of The Anniston (Ala.) Star.

"The effective leadership of newsrooms has never been more important, and as an organization of leaders this award is very important and reflective of what ASNE is all about," Bhatia said.

Carroll will be presented with the award at the convention’s Keynote Breakfast, Wednesday, April 21.

ASNE, with about 750 members, is the largest organization of directing editors of daily newspapers in the Americas. It is a leader in improving diversity in newsrooms, strengthening newspaper credibility and improving high school journalism.