Shani Hilton has been appointed to the newly-created role of managing editor for new initiatives at the Los Angeles Times, effective immediately.
In making the appointment, Times Executive Editor Kevin Merida said that Hilton will be responsible for driving the L.A. Times’ efforts to expand its journalism and to foster a newsroom culture of aggressive, organic experimentation with form and approach.
“Shani is superbly equipped for this new role,” Merida said. “She is a force for creativity with a get-things-done spirit. Her focus will be wide-ranging and may include new areas of coverage, music, poetry, comedy, books, documentaries, scripted projects, new ways for journalists to engage with subscribers, pop-up events, debates, community and prison journalism, block parties and much more.”
Since coming to the L.A. Times as a deputy managing editor in 2019, Hilton has worked with staffs across the newsroom—from Business to the Washington Bureau to Politics to Entertainment—to focus The Times’ coverage through a California lens. At BuzzFeed News, where Hilton had previously served as vice president of news and programming, she was a newsroom innovator, developing forward-thinking news coverage and building live television programming and documentaries.
“In just over two years, I’ve been impressed time and time again by the depth of knowledge, experience, and curiosity of this newsroom,” Hilton said. “Trying stuff is where I tend to gravitate, so I’m grateful to Kevin, and to the Soon-Shiong family’s commitment to letting us experiment as we continue to transform the Los Angeles Times.”
As managing editor for new initiatives, Hilton joins Managing Editors Scott Kraft and Kimi Yoshino, and will oversee the Podcast and Video departments, working with those teams and other collaborators to sharpen The Times’ audio and video strategies. Hilton will also work within the newsroom to cultivate ideas and create an environment where journalists can try new things, launch products and pursue different ways to engage subscribers and the community with their reporting.
“Shani will work with the newsroom and our external partners to build on and accelerate our efforts to attract new audiences and make the L.A. Times the modern news media company—grounded in a tradition of independent journalism and inspired by the West Coast’s spirit of innovation,” added Merida.