There are several changes afoot at the Seattle Times, according to sources.

First, Olympia reporter Andrew Garber is leaving the paper to work for the SPD's media shop. (This one is confirmed by the SPD.)

Second, we've heard that Brian M. Rosenthal, a rising star who has lit up the Times social media attack with constant tweets from the politics beat, is leaving as well.

Third, we've heard that conservative and thorough Washington State Wire reporter Erik Smith is leaving the Wire, the conservative-leaning Olympia politics news blog, to join the Seattle Times editorial board.

We have messages out for confirmation.

The loss of Garber and Rosenthal would follow the recent departure of excellent local politics reporter Emily Heffter, who left the paper earlier this month after years covering city hall and local elections, to take a job at Zillow.

The Times is reportedly hiring a new city hall reporter. 

UPDATE: Seattle Times spokeswoman Jill Mackie would not confirm or deny the rumor about Smith, saying only that the paper has been trying to fill the edit board spot ever since longtime conservative Times editorial board member Bruce Ramsey left late last year. Mackie told us: "We have been recruiting and interviewing for the opinion writing position vacated when Bruce Ramsey retired. At present, there has been no announcement on who will join our editorial page team."

Mackie said she would get back to me about the other rumors.

UPDATE: Mackie has confirmed that both Garber and Rosenthal are leaving, though she did not say where Rosenthal is going.

She said:

"They are both moving to new opportunities. The loss of both Andrew and Brian at the same time is a bit of a blow given their focus on state government and the importance of high quality state government reporting to our readers. 

"That said, our two top news editors, Editor Kathy Best and Deputy Managing Editor Jim Simon are both former statehouse reporters who well understand the importance of watchdog reporting. The Seattle Times is committed to robust coverage of state government. Identifying the right people to cover Olympia will be a high priority."


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