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The Times hires five staffers to cover Sacramento, Los Angeles and Northern California

Five new Los Angeles Times staffers
Clockwise from top left, new Los Angeles Times staffers Hannah Wiley, Mackenzie Mays, Jeong Park, Jessica Garrison and Rachel Uranga.

The following message was sent on behalf of Deputy Managing Editor Shelby Grad:

I am pleased to announce the hiring of new staffers for Metro in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Northern California.

Hannah Wiley, Sacramento Reporter

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Hannah Wiley has joined the Sacramento bureau as a state government reporter who will cover California criminal justice and housing issues.

Wiley came from the Sacramento Bee, where she served as lead legislative reporter and was a fierce competitor. At the Bee, she was at the center of the biggest issues facing California — homelessness, COVID-19, climate change, inequity and the housing shortage. During an unprecedented news cycle these last two years, she managed to stay on top of breaking news while also producing many memorable investigative stories that looked at money and influence in the capital, anti-vaccination misinformation and the critical efforts to help homeless people during the pandemic.

Prior to the Bee, Wiley was a reporting fellow at the Texas Tribune covering immigration and criminal justice issues. She graduated from St. Louis University and earned a master’s degree in investigative reporting from Northwestern. She started Dec. 13.

Mackenzie Mays, Sacramento Reporter

Mackenzie Mays has joined the Sacramento bureau as a state government reporter who will lead a new focus on issues of inequality and how Californians in need are, or are not, being served by their state government.

Mays is a skilled and relentless investigative reporter with experience working with data. She comes from Politico, where she had covered California education issues since early 2019, including recent accountability coverage of the state superintendent of public instruction. Prior to that, while at the Fresno Bee, Mays was one of the reporters whose work on issues related to Rep. Devin Nunes was part of the newspaper’s tussle with the Central Valley politician. She also wrote memorable stories and series about education in the Central Valley, with a deep focus on inequity. Before that, she was a reporter at her hometown newspaper, the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette-Mail.

Mays is a graduate of West Virginia University and a proud Appalachian who brings a zeal for accountability journalism as well as scoops and breaking news to this new position. She started Dec. 27.

Jeong Park, Asian American Communities Reporter

Jeong Park has joined The Times as an Asian American communities reporter, based in Los Angeles. Park comes from the Sacramento Bee, where he covered economic inequity and other labor issues. Before that, he worked as a cities and general assignment reporter at the Orange County Register. There, he covered topics such as Garden Grove’s Koreatown, municipal government and the Orange County Fair. He has written memorably about his immigrant journey from South Korea to the United States and his status as a “DACA journalist.”

In his new job, Park will cover fast-growing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in Southern California and beyond. As a native Korean speaker, he will have a natural focus on Koreatown. He will tell stories about life, politics, culture and generational change among Chinese, Filipino, South Asian and many other groups. Park considers both Seoul, where he was born, and Southern California, where he grew up and graduated from UCLA, as his home. He started Monday.

Rachel Uranga, Transportation and Mobility Reporter

Rachel Uranga has joined Metro as transportation and mobility writer. Uranga is a veteran reporter and editor with deep experience covering Los Angeles institutions. She covered the Los Angeles Police Department for the Daily News, scoring big accountability pieces before shifting to immigration coverage. She eventually took on coverage of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for the Southern California News Group. Along the way, she served as a foreign correspondent in Mexico for Reuters and also freelanced there for numerous publications. Most recently, she served as managing editor of Dot.LA, a start-up tech and media news site.

Uranga brings a deep appreciation for the central role transportation plays in our daily lives and in the future of our planet. She plans a very broad approach to the beat, covering our key institutions with an eye on investigative accountability but also from the prism of climate change, public safety, planning and development. She is particularly interested in the technology of where vehicles and mass transit are going. California is at a crossroads in our relationship with the car and in our reckoning with the toll that car culture is taking on the environment. Uranga will be at the center of all this.

She graduated from Cal State Northridge with degrees in urban studies and journalism and from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism in political reporting with a focus on Latin America. She also started Monday.

Jessica Garrison, Northern California Correspondent

Jessica Garrison is joining The Times as our Northern California correspondent.

Garrison comes from BuzzFeed News, where she was an investigative reporter and editor. There, she was behind some of the organization’s most important investigative projects, including “The New American Slavery,” a series about labor exploitation of foreign guest workers that won a National Magazine Award for Public Service. As an editor, she oversaw groundbreaking reporting on how Chicago police framed numerous men for murders they did not commit, which won a George Polk award. Garrison’s 2020 book, “The Devil’s Harvest,” told the story of a prolific contract killer who stalked poor Central Valley farm towns for years and a society that didn’t care enough to bring justice for the victims. It was hailed as a shocking expose of societal inequity in California and a gripping read.

Many of you know Garrison from her years at The Times, where she covered education, City Hall, the courts and served as an investigative reporter. During her first stint here, she wrote about housing, corrupt dealings in local cities, Proposition 8 and Orange County schools. Her landmark investigation with Kim Christensen exposed how the battery company Exide was exposing hundreds of thousands of Eastside residents to dangerous pollution. A graduate of UC Berkeley, she starts Feb. 7.


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