Indian-American editor Davan Maharaj, who worked his way up the Los Angeles Times or LA Times from an intern to publisher, has been removed in a shake-up of the Chicago-based newspaper's leadership. CBS LA reports that Kirk will work with Levinsohn in the search for a permanent editor-in-chief replacement.
A lengthy feature article in Los Angeles magazine a year ago described how the Times newsroom, with Maharaj in charge, "has been overtaken by fear". His portfolio includes the majority of the digital assets for Tronc.
According to Dearborn, The Times is looking to step up its investment in Washington, D.C., along with making inroads into Asia and South America.
Levinsohn told Poynter that he intends to "really focus in on what L.A. and California represent, culturally and economically and be aggressive about delivering this to all platforms around the world".
One big question ahead for Tronc: How much will it emphasize the L.A. Times in its new strategy? "The Los Angeles Times has incredible journalists, and there's never been a more important time to produce incredible journalism and get it out on all these platforms".
The Times, like other newspapers, has struggled to compete in the digital age and has been reducing staff for years.
But staffers at the Times can be forgiven if they are skeptical.
Levinsohn will hold an all-hands meeting at 3 p.m. with Kirk to discuss the future of the newsroom, he said in a memo to staffers Monday.
Representatives for tronc and the Los Angeles Times did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
But on the web, the Times is venturing into podcasting and documentary filmmaking through deals with other companies. Further, Terry Jimenez, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Tronc, now adds to his responsibilities, taking over manufacturing and distribution operations.
Dearborn told Maharaj he was sacked at a breakfast meeting in Los Angeles on Monday.
"We have to keep the print product vibrant, because it also provides most of the revenue right now", he said.
Levinsohn told CNNMoney that he will try to position the Los Angeles Times for "sustainable, long-term growth".
Monday's shakeup is the latest wrinkle in what has historically been a fraught relationship between the Los Angeles Times and Tronc, its corporate parent. The Times generates both about half the company's digital traffic and, together with the San Diego Union-Tribune (now its more tightly integrated sister newspaper) about half Tronc's revenues.
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet was sacked by the LA Times' corporate management in 2006 when he was the editor there and refused to carry out layoffs.
There was again turmoil in 2015 after Austin Beutner, then-publisher of the Los Angeles Times, was sacked by then-CEO Jack Griffin after leading a yearlong initiative to reshape the paper's digital efforts. The newsroom has suffered through many rounds of cutbacks over the years, including buyouts as recently as this summer, and the paper's own story about the changes on Monday cited "flagging morale". That is incorrect. Several top editors have been dismissed.