Times re-embraces City-County bureau

In the 1980s, I was one of the reporters in the L.A. Times' City-County bureau, which combined a whole lot of firepower under one roof to cover City Hall, the Hall of Administration, the MTA, issues like transportation and urban planning, and local politics. It has come and gone as an organizational concept since then, for mostly internal political and staffing reasons. Lately the Times' editors have preferred City Hall reporters to work in a bit of silo separate from the county reporters and other beats. Now the City-County concept is coming back again, with longtime staff writer Rich Connell (also one of the reporters then) in charge. Today's memo from the LAT's new assistant managing editor for California coverage:

To: The Staff
From: Ashley Dunn, Assistant Managing Editor

Rich Connell, a veteran government and investigative reporter, is moving to the Metro editing staff as chief of a reconstituted City-County Bureau.

Rich brings a wealth of experience to the position. He has worked the beats and probed and analyzed virtually every branch of Los Angeles government during more than 30 years as a reporter with The Daily Breeze, Copley News Service and The Times. His diverse body of investigative, multimedia and feature work - sometimes with teams of colleagues -- has been recognized with a Goldsmith Prize, two Investigative Reporters and Editors Medals and three Times awards, among others.

Rich has long been one of our go-to rewrite and investigative resources when the big stories break. A former assistant city editor at The Daily Breeze, Rich has filled in on the desk at The Times, including an extended stint in the old Orange County section. Starting today, working with Bill Nottingham, he'll transition into guiding a consolidated group of reporters covering City Hall, county government, transportation, public health and other issues.

City-County bureau lore: LA Observed columnist Bill Boyarsky was the original bureau chief. His reporters at various times included Henry Weinstein, Leo Wolinsky, Frank Clifford, Janet Clayton, Victor Merina, Claudia Luther, Joel Sappell, Glenn Bunting, Jill Stewart and David Ferrell as well as Connell and myself. Plus others.

LAT memo #2: New awards for the Bell team of Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives plus photographer Carolyn Cole. Memo after the jump.

From: Stanton, Russ
Sent: Monday, May 09, 2011 10:08 AM
Team Bell and Times photographer Carolyn Cole have been honored with Sigma Delta Chi Awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Ruben Vives, Jeff Gottlieb and the rest of the Bell task force took the Investigative Reporting prize. Carolyn won in Breaking News Photography for her powerful images of the earthquake in Haiti.

The hardware will be handed out at a banquet in New Orleans in September.

Congratulations to all.

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