Los Angeles Times

Ralph Vartabedian

Writer

Ralph Vartabedian, a national correspondent at the Los Angeles Times, joined the newspaper in 1981. In his many reporting assignments, he has written on Toyota vehicle defects, presidential candidates, the New Orleans levee failures, the defense industry, the Columbia space shuttle accident investigation, nuclear weapons, tax collection abuses, and the California bullet train, among much else. He won the 2015 Gerald Ford Presidential Foundation award for defense writing, as well as Loeb awards in 1987 and 2010. He was also a Pulitzer finalist in 2010, among many other career recognitions. In 1989, the Delta Mu Delta honorary society at California Polytechnic University school of business gave Vartabedian a special award for integrity. He covered aerospace and defense issues for 10 years at The Times, covering the military buildup that preceded the end of the Cold War and its decline afterward. He spent five years as a Washington, D.C., reporter for the paper and then four years as the deputy business editor. He previously worked at the Minneapolis Star and the Kalamazoo Gazette. Vartabedian is married to Jeanne Wright, a freelance writer. Born in Detroit, he graduated from the University of Michigan with a master’s degree in economics and a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Recent Articles

  • New political and legal battle is shaping up for California bullet train

    New political and legal battle is shaping up for California bullet train

    A seemingly obscure, two-sentence piece of state legislation is demonstrating the still unsettled political and legal foundations of California's troubled bullet train project. Supporters of the legislation say they simply want to “clarify” highly technical wording of taxpayer protections written...

  • How a stockpile of America's nuclear weapons got tangled up in a Middle East crisis

    How a stockpile of America's nuclear weapons got tangled up in a Middle East crisis

    A little more than 100 miles from the territory held by the violent extremist group Islamic State, there is a little piece of Americana. It has an eight-lane swimming pool, a baseball diamond and housing tracts built on carefully manicured cul-de-sacs. The Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey has...

  • Thorny issues challenge California's commitment to renewable energy goals

    Thorny issues challenge California's commitment to renewable energy goals

    As California pushes forward on its ambitious goal to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, it will confront a wide range of potentially troubling economic, technical and political questions — though there remains strong support among public officials for the state’s climate...

  • The sunset that takes an hour to go from date palms to redwoods

    The sunset that takes an hour to go from date palms to redwoods

    In a state renowned for its extremes, Monday’s summer solstice will be a slow-motion study in California’s extraordinary geography. The last ray of sunshine will fall at 8:55 p.m. in Crescent City, a foggy northern outpost on the Pacific Ocean where it rains more than New Orleans or Seattle. About...

  • Did bullet train officials ignore warning about need for taxpayer money?

    Did bullet train officials ignore warning about need for taxpayer money?

    When a Spanish firm submitted a bid last year to help build the California bullet train, it cautioned that taxpayer money probably would be needed to keep the system operating. Having reviewed data on 111 high-speed train lines around the world, construction giant Ferrovial said, it found that...

  • Bullet train hits $63-million bump

    Bullet train hits $63-million bump

    The California rail authority on Tuesday approved increasing a contract to build the first 29 miles of the bullet train system by $63 million to compensate its lead contractor for delays in land acquisitions. Tutor Perini was awarded a $1-billion contract in 2013 to construct bridges, viaducts,...

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