William K. Marimow, managing editor of The Sun and a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, was promoted yesterday to editor and senior vice president, the newspaper's top editorial position.
Marimow, 52, replaces John S. Carroll, who became the top editor of the Los Angeles Times yesterday after nine years in the post at The Sun.
Michael E. Waller, publisher of The Sun, announced the appointment to newsroom employees yesterday afternoon. He later said the decision to promote Marimow was made quickly, easily and without considering candidates from outside the company.
"Bill's been with this paper, he's been an architect of what's been going on here, and, frankly, he's earned it," Waller said. "Few people are better prepared and better qualified to be the top editor of a metropolitan newspaper."
The appointment of Marimow, the newspaper's No. 2 editor since 1995, comes during a period of marked change at The Sun.
The newspaper's parent corporation, Times Mirror Co., announced March 13 that it will be purchased by Chicago-based Tribune Co., an $8 billion deal expected to become final this summer.
Carroll's departure quickly followed. Rumored at first, then reported in the Los Angeles Times and later The Sun, Carroll's resignation in Baltimore was not formally announced to employees until yesterday, the day he started his new job.
Marimow's appointment calmed speculation that the newspaper's new owners might seize control of its new property after Carroll's departure. At The Sun, the two have long been considered a team. They worked together for the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1970s, and Carroll hired Marimow at The Sun in 1993.
With Carroll's departure, The Sun bids farewell to an executive who restructured the newspaper and oversaw its redesign, guided it onto Columbia University's list of the top 10 papers in the country and was named editor of the year by the National Press Foundation in 1998.
In Marimow, it gets an executive new to the role of No. 1 editor but one whose journalistic resume rivals that of anyone in the industry.
In colleagues' words
"He's won the Pulitzer Prize twice. The work speaks for itself," said Robert J. Rosenthal, editor and executive vice president of the Inquirer and a friend and former colleague of Marimow's.
"Bill is an individual of tremendous personal and journalistic integrity," Rosenthal said. "And I'm sure The Sun, which has always prided itself on those kinds of values, will only get better under him."
Glenn Guzzo, a former colleague in Philadelphia and now editor of the Denver Post, said: "I've been a professional journalist for 32 years, and I've never met a better newsman than Bill Marimow."
Marimow began his journalism career in 1969 as a reporter for Jewelers' Circular Keystone, a trade publication, and later for Commercial Car Journal, a trade journal for the trucking industry. He became an assistant to syndicated economics columnist J.A. Livingston the next year, then was hired as a business reporter at the Inquirer in 1972.
Marimow and colleague Jonathan Neumann wrote a series of articles for the Inquirer in 1977 detailing criminal violence committed by members of the Philadelphia Police Department. The series, edited by Carroll, was awarded the Pulitzer gold medal for public service.
In 1985, Marimow won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series of articles about attacks on citizens by Philadelphia police dogs.
He became an editor a year later, holding positions for the Inquirer that included editor for a suburban section called Main Line Neighbors, New Jersey editor and city editor. He was assistant to the publisher for the Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News. He joined The Sun in 1993 and became managing editor two years later.
`Building on good work'
While praising Carroll's tenure at The Sun, Marimow said he expects to imprint some of his own style on the publication.
"I do want to put my own stamp on the paper," Marimow said in an interview. "But I really believe that means building on all the good work we've done over the last seven years."
Marimow said he hopes to improve news coverage in the Baltimore suburbs with more localized features, photography, business stories and community items -- similar to a plan that has been implemented in Howard County. He also said he wants to expand SunSpot, the newspaper's Internet site.
Marimow said he shares Carroll's commitment to in-depth investigative stories and narrative features -- the type of work that won The Sun Pulitzer Prizes in 1997 and 1998 -- but acknowledged a greater thirst for daily beat coverage than his predecessor.
"I spent 18 years as a reporter, and a lot of it I spent covering a beat in a competitive situation, so it's in my blood," he said.
`The best source for news'
"It troubles me when I see a story in a competing publication that we should have had. I would like people to know that seven days a week they're going to get something in The Sun that they can't get anywhere else."