LOS ANGELES -- John Brownell, 33, a deputy managing editor of the Los Angeles Times who had been an assignment editor in the paper's Washington bureau from 1983 to 1986, died June 9 at a hospital here. He had AIDS.
Mr. Brownell, who joined the Times in 1980, was named deputy managing editor in February. At the time of his death, he was in charge of "Column One," developing ideas and editing the offerings for the Page 1 feature, which the paper considers its daily showpiece.
He also oversaw the editing and writing of Column One material from around the world and was responsible for the paper's polling operations and coordinated "enterprise reporting," in which staff members are encouraged to generate their own, unassigned, ideas for stories.
Shelby Coffey III, editor and executive vice president of the Times, said, "He was a rare catalyst, both innovative and diplomatic. He made things happen and he had a sense of humor. He had a short season here, but a superb one."
Mr. Brownell was born in St. Charles, Minn. He began his newspaper career as a copy editor at the Chicago Tribune while still a senior at Northwestern University. A year after graduating in 1978, he joined the copy desk of the Milwaukee Journal. He also worked for the Minneapolis Star before joining the national desk of the Times, where he became a news editor and telegraph editor.
After three years in Washington, he returned to Los Angeles in 1986 as senior editor of the Times Magazine, then became editor of the View feature section in 1987. In 1989, he was named assistant managing editor, and in February 1990, deputy managing editor.
Survivors include his parents, Melvin and Ann Brownell, five brothers and a sister, all of St. Charles.