Kevin Roderick of highly-respected LAObserved.com reports late Monday that “Eighteen month after writing a column about becoming Christine Daniels, veteran sportswriter Mike Penner has quietly returned to work at the Los Angeles Times, according to multiple sources close to the LAT’s Sports staff.”
Besides the LOS ANGELES TIMES itself, SbB was first with the news that Penner had changed his identity to a female. After that, he contributed to the LAT’s sports section and also wrote another newly-created column about his/her life experiences. ALL of those blog entries have been wiped from the site.
Penner also did several interviews at the time, but never went national, though he had offers from the TV talkshow circruit.
Now the question is, when does Penner return? And what is management saying about all this?
More from Roderick:
I emailed him (Penner) and Sports Editor Randy Harvey, who replied, “We’re looking forward to Mike’s byline appearing in the paper and on the website with increased frequency. He continues to be a valued member of our sports staff.“
During his time as Christine, Penner told media outlets that he hadn’t gone through with sex change surgery, so perhaps that’ll make the transition easier. But Penner hasn’t covered events or appeared at the LAT’s offices in person for years, so that might not matter anyway.
The timing of the move, in the wake of massive layoffs at the LAT, is a little curious. Penner was out of sight when the cutbacks happened (and more could be on the way). Because he/she had become a celebrity, at least locally, you wonder if that save Penner from getting laid off. He’s never been a mover and shaker in the LAT’s sports department, and you would think that he might’ve been on the firing line.
Or maybe not. And like I said, the layoffs aren’t over. Though Penner has received a vote of confidence from sports editor Harvey.
UPDATE: More changes at the Times. I hear that “Morning Briefing” is finished as of tomorrow, replaced by various blog highlights. Apparently the morning feature was around for 30 years.