Robert J. Lopez returns to L.A. Times as accountability reporter on Metro desk
Sent on behalf of Deputy Managing Editor Shelby Grad:
Robert J. Lopez is joining Metro as an accountability reporter for Los Angeles, with a special focus on underserved communities.
This is a homecoming for Lopez, who in a two-decade career at The Times rose to become one of its most celebrated investigative journalists. He was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for the Bell scandal and also led award-winning coverage of the California energy crisis, inequity in L.A. schools and the rise of gang violence. He also spent years working to uncover secret files concerning the death of journalist Ruben Salazar that added dramatically to our understanding of the flashpoint in the Chicano Moratorium. Lopez left The Times in 2014 to become director of communications at Cal State Los Angeles, where he rose to the position of associate vice president and directed the Office of Communications and Public Affairs.
Lopez is an ideal candidate for this mission of improving our investigative coverage of Los Angeles and communities of color. The Southern California native has covered many crucial stories, reporting on wildfires, immigration and government corruption, as well as writing deeply reported community-based features (he was one of two reporters behind the scoop on the arrest in Santa Monica of mobster Whitey Bulger). Lopez is a master at uncovering corruption and gathering public records and understands that L.A.’s most vulnerable residents are often its most exploited.
In his role, Lopez will take on his own investigative projects as well as work in teams and provide training and support to others who want to do this work. Lopez was a digital pioneer at The Times, turning Metro’s night operation into one of our best sources of breaking news innovation. He’ll start April 19.