It has been about a decade, give or take a few years, since the Los Angeles Times shut down its San Fernando Valley newsroom. At its peak the office in Chatsworth had dozens of reporters and editors covering the Valley: news, arts, sports, investigations, business. The Chatsworth plant and its news ambition (and printing presses) are long forgotten. The Times lately has tried to get by with one reporter, Hailey Branson-Potts, covering part-time an urban area with a population of 1.5 million or so. What that means in practice is that the Times covers Silver Lake in more depth than it does the Valley. Ah, but now the LA Register arrives and announces it will cover the Valley too, with a reporter (at least) and a monthly section. So this week Times editor Davan Maharaj announced the move of veteran reporter Scott Gold from the roving state beat to the San Fernando Valley. "One of our most important beats," Maharaj memos.
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2014 2:58 PM
Subject: Message from Davan Maharaj and Marc Duvoisin re: Scott Gold
To the staff:
We’re delighted to announce that Scott Gold, one of our foremost storytellers, is taking on one of our most important beats.
Scott, most recently a roving state correspondent focused on the Central Coast, will report on the San Fernando Valley. His mission: Find stories that help explain the prototypical American suburb in an era when movie stars’ ranches, breakneck postwar development, cruise night on Van Nuys Boulevard, “Valley Girl,” the Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes and even the failed secession movement are distant memories.
His treks along the 101 will be shorter, but his approach will be the same as always – to produce richly reported, elegantly spun profiles, smart enterprise and deftly crafted breaking news stories.
Scott’s presence will help lighten the load on Hailey Branson-Potts, who has been reporting on the Valley and other news.
Scott was a reporter at the Wilmington, N.C., Star-News and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida before joining The Times in 1999. He started in Orange County, then became Riverside Bureau Chief. He joined the national staff in 2003 and returned to Metro in 2007.
He has covered major national news events, including the Bush-Gore recount, the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Sandy. For metro, he wrote a year-long string of articles reexamining South Los Angeles and a series of weekly dispatches from across Southern California called “Out There.” He also anchored The Times’ coverage of NASA’s recent mission to Mars.
His skills as a rewrite man on big breaking news are justly legendary.
Please join us in congratulating Scott on his new assignment, and in sending him story ideas.
Davan and Marc
Speaking of the Register, back in Orange County the mother ship — having lost a big slice of its reporting assets to the Los Angeles invasion — is getting into a partnership with startup newsroom Voice of OC. The Register will run stories from the startup, especially on Orange County government. "We've been impressed with Voice of OC, whose reporters have produced more than 3,500 stories on local government in Orange County since 2010," says Steve Green, the Register's assistant managing editor/local, in the flackage. Here's the Voice of OC announcement and the skeptical take of Gustavo Arellano, editor of the rival OC Weekly: "Voice of OC...has just sold out any indie cred it had built up by becoming Kushner's useful idiot."