‘LA Times’ Editorial Page Editor’s Romance May Kill Sunday Section

By: Joe Strupp

A relationship between the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times and a Hollywood publicist may force the paper to cancel its weekend opinion section, the Times reported today.

According to the Times, this weekend’s edition of its Currents section was being edited by the first in a series of guest editors, producer Brian Glazer. Known for productions such as “A Beautiful Mind,” Glazer is affiliated with Hollywood publicist Kelly Mullens, who is romantically linked to Times editorial page editor Andres Martinez, the paper reported.

“Publisher David D. Hiller said late Wednesday that he was considering halting publication of this weekend’s opinion section that was designed to feature a stable of writers assembled by Grazer,” the Times reported Thursday. It also stated that “controversy emerged inside the paper this week” after it was learned Mullens had been dating Martinez. “Mullens has worked as a consultant and recently was listed on news releases promoting Grazer’s collaboration with the paper,” the Times reported.

The Times reported that Hiller planned to decide today whether to run an editor’s note about the relationship or to cancel the section before its scheduled Friday printing.

“I believe, based on everything that I have seen, that we have only the appearance of a conflict here,” Hiller said in the paper. “I believe that the selection of Grazer was not based on this relationship. We have an appearance and not a case of actual undue influence. We want to do the right thing for our readers and for the paper.”

The Times story added that “many reporters and editors in The Times’ newsroom said they were unhappy about how readers might perceive the decision to let an outsider – with the appearance of a special inside connection – hold sway over the Sunday opinion and editorial pages. Several journalists recalled how the newspaper’s reputation for impartiality suffered in 1999 when it was revealed that The Times had shared profit from a special magazine edition with the management of Staples Center.”

The Times also reported that “with a chorus of criticism growing louder through the day, Martinez hurriedly called a staff meeting, saying his relationship with Mullens had nothing to do with Grazer’s selection. He said he expected to write an editor’s note explaining that to readers.”

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