LA Times Hires Right Before They Fire

Times staffers are bracing for another round of newsroom layoffs, expected to hit next week. Makes the hiring of a reporter for the Sacramento bureau seem a little ill-timed. Below is the newsroom memo from assistant managing editor David Lauter, found at LA Observed:

I’m delighted to announce that Jack Dolan, a prize-winning reporter for the Miami Herald, will be joining us shortly after the first of the year as a new reporter in our Sacramento bureau.

Last year, Jack was a key reporter on a series of stories in the Herald that showed how Florida’s lax regulation of mortgage brokers had allowed thousands of felons, including people convicted of fraud and theft, to peddle mortgages to unsuspecting borrowers. The series won the Gerald Loeb award, as well as several other prizes that recognized its meticulous reporting and excellent writing. It all started when Jack had the hunch that matching a state database of mortgage brokers with a database of convicted felons might yield interesting results. Good hunch. That was not the first time that Jack’s skill with data has helped lead him to great stories: In 2001, writing for the Hartford Courant, he was a Pulitzer finalist for a set of stories that mined the state’s death certificates to show how hospitals were covering up fatal medical errors.

Our Sacramento bureau has long been known for its incisive investigative reporting. Our long string of high-impact stories continued over the past year. Adding Jack will enable us to do even more, both on the investigative front and in pursuit of breaking news on one of our most productive and competitive beats.

In addition to his work at the Herald and the Courant, Jack has also worked as a data analyst for Investigative Reporters and Editors, and as a radio and TV reporter and producer in Missouri. This spring he did a stint in McClatchy’s Baghdad bureau. He’s a graduate of the University of Missouri and McGill University. Please join me in welcoming him aboard.