It looks like the rash of layoffs, cutbacks and buyouts has finally hit the venerable Los Angeles Times Capitol Bureau. First, it was Assembly beat reporter Nancy Vogel, who announced she was leaving the paper to seek a career outside of journalism. Word on the street is that Vogel will join former Sacramento Bee reporter Dorothy Korber in the office of incoming Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, heading up some kind of new oversight investigative committee. Vogel has already worked her last day at the paper, and will officially join that official journalist burial ground known as the state Senate when Steinberg takes over on Dec. 1. Then, it was announced this week that longtime bureau chief Virginia Ellis will leave the paper. Ellis is perhaps best known for her work investigating former insurance commissioner Chuck Quackenbush in a string of stories that helped bring the Republican insurance commish down. In a memo to the Times newsroom sent by Metro Editor David Lauter, he wrote, “The Quackenbush story, for which Virginia won both the Selden Ring and the George Polk award, exemplified the best of Virginia’s work – kee investigative instincts in the service of dedicated beat reporting.” Ellis’ departure leaves a hole at the top of the state’s largest, and most well-respected Capitol bureau. Reporters Dan Morain and Evan Halper are among those mentioned as possible successors.
*Updates to CORRECT — again — the spelling of David Lauter's last name. We did get "David" right, however.