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Top L.A. Times editor quits, Washington Post reports

Shelby Coffey III has resigned as editor of the Los Angeles Times and is expected to be replaced by its managing editor, Michael Parks, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

The Post, quoting anonymous sources, said Coffey resigned rather than work with the paper's new publisher, Salt Lake native Mark Willes, who is instituting a series of changes in an attempt to increase daily circulation by 500,000 copies.The Post said the Times would make the announcement later Thursday after a Times Mirror Co. board meeting in Los Angeles.

There was no word of the reported change in Thursday's editions of the Times.

A Times spokeswoman didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press after business hours. Earlier Wednesday, she said the paper would have a personnel announcement as early as Thursday, but refused to comment further on rumors Coffey was leaving.

The editor on duty at the Times' executive news desk Wednesday night also said he could not comment.

Coffey's reported resignation was the latest high-level change at the Times. Willes, who became chairman, president and CEO of parent Times Mirror in 1995 after being vice chairman of General Mills Inc., took over as publisher in September upon the retirement of Richard T. Schlosberg III at age 53.

Parks has been managing editor since July 1996, after serving as deputy foreign editor for 12 months.

Before that, Parks was a foreign correspondent for the newspaper in China, Russia and Israel. He won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1987 for his coverage of South Africa.

As managing editor, Parks has been responsible for all parts of the Times' editorial department except for the editorial pages.

Coffey was named editor and executive vice president of the Times in 1989. Previously, he worked at The Washington Post from 1968-85, where he edited the Style section.

Coffey also served as senior vice president and editor of the Dallas Times Herald in 1986 and as editor of U.S. News & World Report from 1985-1986.

The Times won four Pulitzers under Coffey's leadership.