Marilyn Thompson To New York Times

The New York Times just hired away Marilyn Thompson from the Los Angeles Times. Thompson served as the LA’s paper national investigative editor and worked on a number of high profile stories (including an expose of dangerous practices at U-Haul and a Pulitzer-winning piece on police brutality in DC) both at the LA Times and Washington Post. Thompson will be a reporter in the NY Times‘ Washington bureau, where she’ll answer to DC Bureau Chief (and former LA Timeser) Dean Baquet.

Memo from Baquet after the jump.


Marilyn Thompson Joins Washington Bureau

For the past year Marilyn has run the Los Angeles Times’s Washington investigative unit, heading numerous projects such as the recent series on U-Haul. Before that she was editor of the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky. She went to Lexington from the Post, where as deputy AME for investigations she co-edited a project on abuse by the D.C. police department that won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1999. During her tenure as AME, the Post also won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

Marilyn’s career as a Washington investigative reporter has been just as impressive, and she is eager to get back to it. She broke the first investigative stories on federal contracting fraud at Wedtech, which evolved into a national political scandal involving former Attorney General Ed Meese and presidential advisor Lyn Nofziger. (Jack Newfield of the Voice called her the Ida Tarbell of the 1980s.) In 2003, she uncovered the story of Essie Mae Washington-Williams, the black woman in California who was Strom Thurmond’s secret daughter.

Aside from this rather intimidating resume, Marilyn is a delightful colleague. I can attest to that from personal experience, as can others in the bureau, including Adam Nagourney, who worked with her at the New York Daily News.

Marilyn joins a bureau that has a great track record of enterprise reporting, from the beat writers who dig into earmarks and intelligence fiascos to the profile writers who are illuminating the presidential candidates. She also joins several hard-hitting investigators engaged in short- and long-term projects, a mix that is vital to building a tough and skeptical report.

I’d like to say how terrific it is that The New York Times continues to build its staff at what is obviously a rugged time in the newspaper
business.