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Los Angeles Times Expands Its Foreign News Operation

As part of the rebuilding of the Los Angeles Times, Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine and Managing Editor Scott Kraft made the following announcement.

We are pleased to announce several additions and transfers in our expanding Foreign news operation, under acting Foreign/National Editor Mitchell Landsberg.

Seoul Bureau — Victoria Kim

Victoria Kim, who has been a reporter in Metro since joining The Times in 2007, will be joining the Foreign staff as our new Seoul correspondent, reopening a vital bureau that covers one of the world’s most dynamic – and strategically important – societies.

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In her 11 years at the paper, Victoria has distinguished herself with sharp, nuanced coverage of the state and federal courts and the Korean community in Los Angeles. Her work has included investigations on the cover-up of the sex abuse scandal in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and killings of unarmed suspects by the Inglewood police; stories that held men in Hollywood accountable in the #MeToo scandal; and incisive features about Koreatown. She recently covered the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore, where her coverage included a memorable first-person story about her encounter with a North Korean journalist.

Victoria was raised in Seoul, where she learned about the outside world by reading the International Herald Tribune and Time magazine. She graduated from Harvard University, where she studied post-colonial history. She has previously written for the Associated Press in South Korea and West Africa, as well as the Financial Times in New York. She is a seasoned traveler whose Instagram feed inspires both wanderlust and hunger.

Victoria will take up her new post sometime after the November midterm elections, which she will be covering.

Singapore Bureau — Shashank Bengali and David Pierson

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Shashank Bengali, our standout Mumbai bureau chief the past four years, will be moving across the Bay of Bengal to Singapore, where he will open a new Southeast Asia bureau along with David Pierson, a former LA Times correspondent in Beijing and most recently a tech reporter in Business. They will combine to report on this increasingly important region, covering general news as well as technology and international economic issues of vital interest to our readers.

Shashank has reported from 50 countries, with more than 120 front-page bylines from Iran to Myanmar. He was a major contributor to the migration series that won the Sigma Delta Chi award for foreign correspondence in 2017, and his work from Bangladesh won the South Asia Journalists Association enterprise reporting prize the same year. He also played a key role in the 2016 San Bernardino shooting coverage that won a Pulitzer Prize for the paper in breaking news. His writing has ranged from the momentous — wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and terrorism in Pakistan — to the whimsical, including a delightful first-person piece about how he learned to cope with Mumbai’s monsoon season.

Shashank joined The Times in 2012 as a national security reporter in the Washington bureau. He came from McClatchy Newspapers, where he was the national security editor and, as a national/foreign correspondent, covered the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Libya, among other stories. He spent four years as McClatchy’s Africa bureau chief based in Nairobi and began his career as the Missouri correspondent for the Kansas City Star.

Originally from Cerritos, Calif., Shashank has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and French from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard. He and his wife have their hands full with year-old twins.

David is a 2000 graduate of the Times’ Metpro internship program. He previously spent four years as a Business correspondent in the Beijing bureau, where he covered the astonishing ascent of China’s economy. Back in California, he covered agriculture and the marijuana industry before turning to tech. His “Feeding China” series in 2014 was honored by the California Newspaper Publishers Association for outstanding agricultural reporting.

A graduate of St. John’s University in Jamaica, N.Y., David began his career at Newsday, where he spent two years as a sports and general assignment reporter before coming to the Times. After the Metpro program, he covered the police and education beats before branching out to general assignment reporting that focused on the Chinese American community in Southern California.

A native of Hong Kong, David moved to New Jersey as a teen-ager. He and his wife have two children. When he isn’t running down the latest app news, he is an avid slow-pitch softball pitcher.

Beijing Bureau Correspondent — Alice Su

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Alice Su, a Livingston Award finalist who has written extensively from the Middle East, Africa and China, among other places, will be joining the L.A. Times as a correspondent in Beijing. She will work closely with our Beijing bureau chief Robyn Dixon to beef up our coverage of China, including politics, trade, the entertainment industry and cultural trends.

Alice has most recently been freelancing for the Associated Press from Amman, Jordan, where she has reported multi-format features on Jordan’s deportation of Syrian refugees, security in southern Syria, the imprisonment of women under threat of “honor” killings, Jordan’s economic crisis, and repeal of the “marry-the-rapist” clause in the Jordanian penal code, among other stories.

Her writing from a wide variety of countries has also appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Harper’s Magazine, Foreign Affairs, BBC News, the Guardian, the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, WIRED, Politico, Al Jazeera America and VICE News, among others.

For Alice, the position in Beijing will represent a homecoming of sorts. She grew up in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai before studying public policy and international affairs at Princeton University and Peking University in Beijing. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and also speaks Arabic and Persian.

She has received six international reporting grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She also received a fellowship from the International Women’s Media Foundation for a reporting trip to South Sudan.

Alice will begin her new position in December.

Foreign Desk — Rebecca Bryant

Rebecca Bryant, a multiplatform editor on the morning desk, is joining the National/Foreign desk as an assistant editor, where she will edit and help shape our coverage of the world outside California.

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Over the course of two stints at The Times, and in various other phases of her career in Southern California, Mexico, New York and Florida, Rebecca has built a reputation as a sharp, meticulous editor who asks tough questions and consistently makes reporters – and their editors – look better.

She first came to The Times as a stringer in the Valley edition — just in time to help cover the 1994 Northridge earthquake. She left to work for Newsday, and then freelanced for a number of years, some of them spent living in Mexico, before coming back to The Times in 2003 as a copy editor on the Foreign and National desks.

A native Floridian, Rebecca graduated from the University of Florida before covering law enforcement, housing and government for the Tampa Tribune. She and her husband, reporter Geoff Mohan, live in La Crescenta with periodic stints in the Eastern Sierra. They have two sons attending University of California campuses.

Before starting on the National/Foreign desk, Rebecca will work with the politics desk until the midterm elections on coverage of key California congressional races.


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