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Justin Ray named author of the Essential California newsletter

Justin Ray wants to take Essential California in “a direction that will increase readership and diversify our audience.”
Justin Ray wants to take Essential California in “a direction that will increase readership and diversify our audience.”
(Los Angeles Times)

The following announcement was sent on behalf of Deputy Managing Editor Shelby Grad and Newsletter Editor Scott Sandell:

We are thrilled to announce that Justin Ray is taking over as the author of Essential California, our marquee newsletter.

Ray comes to this vital job after a highly successful run as an audience engagement editor in Arts and Entertainment, where he drew acclaim for helping to connect readers with great journalism, framing coverage and launching many innovations that have since been copied by other departments. He also wrote memorably about the intersection of race and culture, including with scoops about turmoil at a popular podcast.

Before arriving at The Times, Ray was an editor at the Columbia Journalism Review, where he wrote about California wildfire coverage and how a reporter got the Sandra Bland video, and at NBC-owned stations in New York and Chicago. He has also written for Refinery29 and Complex.

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Each Essential California writer brings a distinctive voice and style to the newsletter, which is sent to more than 250,000 readers each day, and we are excited by what Ray has planned. “I enjoy learning about undercovered populations and interesting subcultures,” Ray wrote in his proposal, adding that he wants to take Essential California in “a direction that will increase readership and diversify our audience.” These are worthy missions not just for the newsletter but also for the institution as a whole.

Look for Ray’s newsletter to begin this month.


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