‘Newsday’ D.C. Bureau Chief Phelps Leaving For ‘L.A. Times’

By: Joe Strupp

The departure of Newsday Washington Bureau Chief Tim Phelps, who will become an investigative editor at the Los Angeles Times, will not mean any decrease in Newsday’s D.C. operation, according to Editor John Mancini.

Mancini said the six-person Newsday Washington staff will remain with plans to replace Phelps, who assumes his Times’ post on Oct. 29.

“We posted the job last night,” Mancini told E&P. “We did not want him to go, he is a top-notch journalist who will be missed.”

In a memo to staff, Mancini revealed Phelps’ new job, which will take him from one spot inside Tribune’s massive Washington bureau to another. Both the Times and Newsday are owned by the Chicago-based company.

“In his career here, he was associated with some of the most dramatic moments in the life of the paper, as both a correspondent and an editor,” Mancini’s memo said, in part. He later added, “Our readers will miss Tim?s analytical savvy and his colleagues will miss his counsel.”

Times Washington Bureau Chief Doyle McManus, in a memo first posted on the LAObserved.com site, said Phelps will “promote and guide investigative, enterprise and project reporting across the entire bureau.”

Both memos are posted below:


***********************

Newsday memo:

Tim Phelps, who has had a historic impact on Newsday?s coverage of war, politics and the Supreme Court, is leaving to head the Washington investigations team for the Los Angeles Times.

Tim came to Newsday in 1985 after working at the Providence Journal, St. Petersburg Times, The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun. In his career here, he was associated with some of the most dramatic moments in the life of the paper, as both a correspondent and an editor.

When he applied to come to Newsday, he described his job at the Sun as somewhat akin to that of a foreign correspondent: “I am the Charles Kuralt of Maryland, wandering around the rural parts of the state from my base on my farm in central Maryland.”

At Newsday, Tim ventured even farther. He had learned Arabic in the Army and applied his language skills and reporting tenacity as our first Mideast Bureau Chief, based in Cairo. Tim went on to become a reporter in the Washington Bureau, where he garnered national attention when he broke the Anita Hill story during the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. To this day, there are few journalists who can match his knowledge and insight regarding the court.

Tim worked in Melville for five strong years as foreign editor before heading back to the Washington bureau as chief at the start of the George W. Bush?s administration. Throughout his tenure, reporters in the bureau have broken big stories and strived to explain Washington to our readers. At the same time, he has been a thoughtful and enterprising writer on key issues, particularly relating to national security and the Mideast. In 2003, Tim?s experience and international contacts were instrumental in working with other Newsday staffers to secure the release of Matt McAllester and Moises Saman from Abu Ghraib Prison.

Our readers will miss Tim?s analytical savvy and his colleagues will miss his counsel. Please join me in wishing him the best in his new post.

***
Los Angeles Times’ memo:


To: The Staff
From: Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief

We’re delighted to announce that Timothy M. Phelps, currently
Newsday’s Washington bureau chief, will join us as Washington investigative editor to promote and guide investigative, enterprise and project reporting across the entire bureau.

Tim has a long and distinguished record as a reporter and editor on newsfronts from Providence to Basra. As Newsday’s bureau chief, he has worked to focus their efforts on investigations and enterprise, and was coauthor of the 2003 story that revealed that Robert Novak blew the identity of a covert CIA officer when he identified Valerie Plame. As a Newsday Washington correspondent in 1991, he broke the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill story and coauthored a book about the Thomas nomination.

He also served as Newsday’s Middle East correspondent (based in Cairo) from 1985 to 1991, including the first Gulf War, and as Newsday’s foreign editor (based on Long Island) from 1996 to 2001. As an editor, he designed and helped produce ambitious projects on subjects from the Third World’s child soldiers to the Bush Administration’s politicization of regulatory agencies.

Before all that, Tim was an investigative reporter at the Baltimore Sun, where he revealed secret land deals by the chairman of the St. Mary’s County Commission, a story that sent the chairman to jail; reported vote-swapping by state legislators who owned shares in a bank that was seeking a state charter; and broke the story of a union-owned bank extending sweetheart loans to cronies of then-Gov. Marvin Mandel.

He has also worked for the New York Times, the St. Petersburg Times and the Providence Journal. He grew up on a farm in Rhode Island, attended the University of Pennsylvania and served in the U.S. Army.

Tim will report to me and will be our principal liaison with our newly-appointed deputy managing editor for projects, Marc Duvoisin. He will join us on Monday, October 29.

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