Times reporter Tony Barboza will join the editorial board
The following announcement was sent on behalf of Editorial Page Editor Sewell Chan and Deputy Editorial Page Editor Mariel Garza:
We’re thrilled to announce that Tony Barboza, who has broken numerous stories on air pollution, public health and natural disasters during his 14 years as a Los Angeles Times reporter, is moving to the editorial board to cover climate change and environmental justice.
Barboza will draw on his deep expertise to help our readers understand the actions needed, globally and locally, to cut pollution and rebuild our energy system to slow the existential threat of climate change and adapt to life on a hotter planet without leaving hard-hit communities behind. He will emphasize the changing climate’s intersection with public health, land use, biodiversity and socioeconomic inequality.
Few journalists better understand the quality of the air Californians breathe than Barboza. In 2013, he took on air pollution as a beat and has shaped our understanding of smog, vehicle exhaust, wildfire and extreme heat during a decade in which the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions have become ever more apparent. His reporting has focused on communities near busy roadways, ports, oil refineries and warehouses that bear the brunt of the health impacts from dirty air.
Barboza anchored a 2017 project examining the construction of subsidized housing near polluted freeways — and problems with the government-mandated air-filtration systems that are supposed to capture vehicle exhaust — that was recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists as an outstanding example of investigative reporting. He has doggedly followed the legacy of lead contamination from the former Exide battery-recycling plant in Vernon, which had been allowed to operate without a permit for more than three decades; taxpayers are now paying for the cleanup. Barboza has also written on California’s faltering war onsmog; the role of ports, freight and warehouses in exacerbating pollution from diesel trucks; and the planting of sugar-pine “survivor” trees to help areas better adapt to drought. Last year, he wrote about the disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on some of L.A.’s most crowded and poor neighborhoods, including Black, Latino and Pacific Islander communities and much of Southeast L.A.
Barboza was born and raised in Colorado and graduated from Pomona College. He began his journalism career as an intern at High Country News and then worked as reporter for the Claremont Courier. Barboza was hired to The Times in 2006 as part of its Metpro fellowship, covering Orange County before moving onto the California coast beat. He completed a nine-month Scripps Fellowship in Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado, Boulder, then started covering air quality.
He will join the board Oct. 4.