L.A. Times staffers affected by today's cuts began getting calls at home yesterday, with one of them transportation writer Steve Hymon. He posted confirmation of his layoff on his LAT email address. This is one of the names I meant in my comment this morning. Hymon was part of the Times reporting team that won a public service Pulitzer in 2005 for stories on King-Drew medical center and wrote a weekly notes column for awhile out of City Hall. More recently he has been covering transit issues and was writing the paper's Bottleneck blog until it was folded into L.A. Now in December. There are people and a few blogs in town that followed his reporting on transportation issues quite closely. Don't know yet what will be the future of that beat at the ever-slimmer Times.
*Reax at Streetsblog:
Because of Hymon's efforts, Streetsblog and the LA Times actually had a pretty good relationship. We regularly linked to each other's stories and we both recognized the other's important role in the debate around transportation policy. When Hymon admitted to being a regular car-commuter in a Streetsblog interview, it helped create the longest thread in LA Streetsblog history as readers debated the role of the media in shaping and creating transportation policy....His contributions and reporting will be missed.
Zach Behrens, editor of LAist: "Hymon, in our opinion, was one of the best writers at the paper. He's succinct, clear, creative, has an ear for bullshit coming out of city officials mouths and is happy to call them on it."
CurbedLA calls Hymon "hands-down the best transportation reporter in Los Angeles...This is really terrible, terrible news. Hymon's skill was that he was able to take really complex transportation stories and plainly and effectively explain the issues. And if you don't think this affects you, it does: Reporting influences policy-making and reporters serve as watchdogs of the city's transportation agencies. Again, this is really terrible news."