Damavandi to leave The Malibu Times

Olivia Damavandi and Jonathan Friedman

She will be replaced by Jonathan Friedman, former assistant editor of the newspaper.

The Malibu Times Assistant Editor Olivia Damavandi is leaving after more than two years with the paper. She is moving to New York City next month to pursue a Master’s Degree at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Replacing her is Jonathan Friedman, who served as the newspaper’s assistant editor for six years prior to Damavandi. His position, effective July 12, is associate editor and director of new media.

Damavandi, a 25-year-old Malibu native, has been with The Times since early 2008 when she became copy editor for Malibu Times Magazine and a freelance writer for both the magazine and the paper. She was hired as a staff writer for the paper to replace Friedman in November 2008, and was promoted to assistant editor in October 2009.

Damavandi has covered a wide range of subjects, reporting on all major news stories involving Malibu’s politics, businesses, real estate and environmental issues. She also began writing the paper’s first fashion column, “Olivia’s Closet.”

While she is thrilled about continuing her education and following her passion for journalism at Columbia-the only Ivy League journalism school-Damavandi describes her departure from the paper and from Malibu as “bittersweet.”

“I feel so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be so involved with Malibu,” Damavandi said. “It is a city filled with so many incredible people who have taught me so much. Since attending preschool here, I have been surrounded by friends, parents, teachers, colleagues and city officials who have nurtured my love of learning. I owe much of whatever I have accomplished to those people. I will miss everything about living and working here-even four-hour City Council meetings.”

The Malibu Times publisher Arnold York said, “I am terribly sorry to see Olivia go, but our loss is New York’s gain. I’m happy to have Jonathan Friedman back, a man of ability, energy and modesty.”

Friedman, who is returning to The Times after working at an environmental consulting firm, says he looks forward to his new position.

“Working in marketing was a fun break, but journalism is my true passion,” Friedman said. “No city is a better source for great stories than Malibu. I am happy to be back. With my second stint at The Malibu Times, I will be offering more than just my hard-hitting, but fair, stories that I am known for. Stay tuned for what is to come.”