KTLA reporter Lu Parker decided to finally talk to the media a little about her high profile as the girlfriend of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. The Times sent over Calendar reporter Greg Braxton, but it appears from the story they didn't talk about very much. She's happy in the relationship, she thinks media standards are changing to accept such relationships, and she (rightfully) blows off criticism of having a website with pictures of her. But the only issues examined (and then lightly) are about having a boyfriend while being a reporter, not about any potential conflicts between her animal activism and the job. We don't learn, for instance, where she draws the line on her activism, what KTLA's standards are for her and other staffers on personal causes, or the extent of the mayor's support and involvement in her animal advocacy. It appears Villaraigosa wouldn't comment at all for the story. Excerpt:
The romance developed a few years ago after the collapse of his 2007 extramarital affair with KVEA-TV reporter Mirthala Salinas — a scandal that derailed Salinas' career and may have seriously damaged the mayor's possible aspirations for higher office....
Parker, 42, has not previously spoken publicly at length about Villaraigosa; arrangements by her publicists for an interview several months ago were abruptly halted without explanation. But in a recent wide-ranging interview, she displayed a disarming openness about her personal and professional life.
"I've never felt more fulfilled in my life," she said, sitting in the lobby of the shelter. "I'm in a great relationship, I have an amazing family and amazing friends. I love my job." She's particularly excited about this Sunday's Dodge Rock 'N Roll Los Angeles 1/2 Marathon, which will benefit her nonprofit foundation. "Things are great."
Says Loren Ghiglione, a professor of journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism: "Lu Parker is creating a brand, hustling herself and her book. Her station should be nervous about the presence of her with a newsmaker on her website." I was surprised, by the way, in compiling the links below that the relationship only hit the news last year. Doesn't it feel like longer?
Previously on LA Observed:
Mayor to help out Lu Parker's pet project
Antonio and Lu host a party for Pride week
Call it the Lu Parker effect
Lu Parker and dog at Casa Vilaraigosa
Lu Parker should have lunch with Mirthala
Parker told bosses she's dating the mayor