Saylor, former LA Times biz journalist, dies at 58

Mark Saylor

Mark Saylor, a former Los Angeles Times editor who oversaw a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles on corruption in the entertainment industry, died Friday of cancer. He was 58.

Rebecca Trounson of The Times writes, “In 1998, as entertainment editor for The Times’ business section, Saylor worked with reporters Chuck Philips and Michael A. Hiltzik on three major projects over one year: fundraising by the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences that netted only pennies for its charity; a resurgence of radio station ‘payola,’ or illicit payoffs, for airplay of new recordings; and the preponderance of untested luxury detox programs for wealthy celebrities.

“The stories, combined in a single entry, won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for beat reporting, an award Saylor had called especially satisfying because it honored ‘aggressive reporting on the hometown industry … where The Times has long labored under a cloud, the misperception that we’re soft on the entertainment industry.’

Michael Parks, the paper’s top editor from 1997 to 2000, said Saylor was a tough, aggressive editor who was skilled at creating reporting teams, such as Hiltzik and Philips, with disparate personalities and skills.

“‘He was really quite a smart manager of talent, not necessarily easy on that talent but smart at getting what needed to be gotten from them,’ Parks said. ‘This series really mattered, not just because it is our home industry but because this industry’s values are transmitted to society in so many ways.’”

Read more here.