Today was the final day at Fox 11 for longtime Los Angeles newsman Tony Valdez. He started in TV news here when there were not many Latino faces. "I was fortunate enough to be one of the people who, to put it bluntly, broke the color barrier," he says.
Valdez has been a general assignment reporter for decades and for 20-something years he has also reported the LA's Most Wanted segment, where he profiles criminal suspects and missing persons. For 31 years he also has hosted "Midday Sunday," a weekly public affairs program on Channel 11.
Valdez joined KTTV Channel 11 in 1981 after stints as a writer, producer and reporter at KCET and KTLA. He previously had worked for La Opiñion and I believe some radio stations. Valdez grew up on the Eastside and as a kid shined shoes on Olvera Street before taking his first news job: a paper route for the Los Angeles Herald-Express.
Valdez said via email that he was at KTTV Channel 11 for 35 years, five months and four days. "It’s always been a challenge but I am grateful for all the opportunities and all the amazing people I have worked with here."
Valdez cited colleagues who also helped open the doors of Los Angeles TV news to reporters of color. "I am the last of the first generation of 'ethnic' television news reporters in Los Angeles," he said. "I was fortunate to work with Ken Jones, who was the first African-American anchor in Los Angeles, and Bob Navarro, the first Chicano/Latino/Hispanic television reporter in SoCal." He also mentioned Asian-American reporters Tritia Toyota and Sam Chu Lin.
"It’s gratifying to see that the people reporting the news in Los Angeles now look just like the people who are watching it," he said.
"Your impact on this town is difficult to measure," Fox 11 anchor Steve Edwards says in a video interview with Valdez. "I've always thought of you as kind of the soul, maybe a little of the gatekeeper, of local television news."
Valdez is an Angeleno native who attended Los Angeles City College and Cal State Northridge. He has received numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Los Angeles Press Club awards. He says he would have been a newspaper photographer if he had not gone into television.
Nice pic of the newsroom gathering posted by colleague Jeff Michael.
The Fox11 newsroom says goodbye to Tony Valdez, retiring after being one who broke the color… https://t.co/sFAw02bszX— Jeff Michael (@JeffMichaelNews) November 18, 2016