Los Angeles Times Names 5 to Metro Staff

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 these important additions to our Metro/California reporting staff, under the direction of Shelby Grad.

Susanne Rust, currently director of the Energy and Environmental Reporting Project at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and an award-winning writer and editor, is joining the Metro staff as an investigative reporter.

She will focus on environmental stories, including the federal government’s clashes with California.

For the past four years, Susanne has led a team of investigative reporters at Columbia, producing long-term investigative projects focused on global environmental and energy issues. That effort included a 2015 series of stories for The Times that examined ExxonMobil’s understanding of climate change in the 1980s and 1990s – a series that sparked investigations by Attorneys General in New York, California and three other states. Earlier this year, the Times published an investigation from Susanne’s Columbia team that probed catastrophe bonds used by Mexico to financially hedge against natural disasters.

Before going to Columbia, Susanne was senior environmental reporter at The Center for Investigative Reporting and a science and environment reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

She has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist in investigative reporting (2009) and a winner of the Polk Award as well as the John S. Oakes award for environmental reporting. She also has been John S. Knight fellow at Stanford University.

Susanne has a bachelor’s degree from Barnard College, a master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she completed coursework for her PhD in biological anthropology. She also attended the science communications program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Matt Stiles, who has spent the last two years as a special correspondent for us in Seoul, is joining Metro as a reporter covering Los Angeles County.

Matt wrote more than 100 stories for us from South Korea, skillfully charting the evolution of the relationship between South and North Korea and following the fascinating twists and turns of South Korean politics. Before moving to Seoul, Matt was based in Washington, D.C., where he covered national economics for the Wall Street Journal and worked as data editor on NPR’s news apps team. Earlier, he spent a decade in Texas, first as a criminal justice reporter for the Dallas Morning News and later as a government watchdog reporter for the Houston Chronicle and a data editor for The Texas Tribune in Austin.

Matt’s experience will be vital in covering L.A. County government, a sprawling institution with a $30 billion annual budget that touches on so many essential services in the region. He will work with Nina Agrawal to dig into these institutions and examine how taxpayer money is spend. He also will cover the Board of Supervisors and work closely with both the data desk and the rest of the city-county team.

He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington, and was named to New York magazine’s list of “21 New Media Innovators” in 2011. Matt and his wife, Elise Hu of NPR, have three young daughters.

Taryn Luna, a standout reporter for the Sacramento Bee, is joining our Sacramento bureau, where she will work with the talented team led by bureau chief John Myers.

At the Bee, Taryn wrote dozens of smart enterprise and investigative stories on the California Legislature and the state’s “Third House” of lobbyists. Along with our current bureau, she has been one of the Capitol’s leading writers on the serious allegations of sexual misconduct levied against multiple lawmakers. She was a fierce competitor for those stories, and filed the first story on accusations that led to the resignation of former state Sen. Tony Mendoza.

Taryn is a native of Dixon, a Solano County town just outside of Sacramento. After completing her degree at Oregon State and internships at the Oregonian and the Dallas Morning News, she covered crime and city agencies for the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and then covered business beats at the Boston Globe. Her first day in the Sacramento bureau will be Oct. 1.

BJ Terhune, a multiplatform editor for the past three years, has joined Metro as the morning editor.

BJ will be responsible for getting the California report off the ground each morning, assigning stories, coordinating breaking news and representing the section in the 7:30 a.m. meeting. She previously was a pioneer on the AM copy desk and played a key role in helping us attack breaking news quickly and accurately as well as developing our digital storytelling skills.

In her new job, BJ will work with the other Metro editors to determine how stories are covered, take a leading role in breaking news and also serve as teacher for best digital news practices. She will also be part of the team rethinking how we present California news.

Before joining the Times, BJ was City Editor of the Los Angeles Register and a copy editor at the Orange County Register. Her previous experience included stints at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun and the Palm Beach Post. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.

Hannah Fry, a reporter from Times Community News in Orange County, has joined Metro as a morning general assignment reporter.

During her five years at TCN, Hannah covering county law enforcement, and many of her stories appeared in The Times as well. Her original reporting on a bizarre killing in Newport Beach became the seeds of the “Dirty John” series and podcast. She also wrote a compelling series about the unsettling aftermath of a high-profile murder, one with multiple twists and moral complexities. Just before she joined us, she broke another big story: How the Sheriff’s Department improperly recorded more than 1,000 privileged phone calls in the Orange County jails.

Hannah grew up in Orange County and has a bachelor’s degree in English from Chapman University.