Joel Rubin to lead the Power Project, a new L.A. Times editorial franchise

Portrait of Joel Rubin
In his new role, Joel Rubin will tap into the newsroom’s expertise to examine the city’s most powerful and influential people.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

The following announcement was sent on behalf of Deputy Managing Editor and Vice President of L.A. Times Studios Chris Stone:

The Los Angeles Times is pleased to announce the promotion of Joel Rubin to associate editor for New Initiatives and executive producer for L.A. Times Studios. In his new role, Rubin will focus on the creation of The Times’ inaugural Power Project, which will launch in the fall as an annual editorial franchise.

Rubin is distinctly qualified to lead this initiative. As a reporter in the fall of 2019, he pitched the idea to editors, arguing that The Times’ newsroom was best positioned to identify and explain to readers the individuals and institutions who, from grassroots spaces to establishment corridors, leave an outsized imprint on the city. Then the pandemic intervened.


The rebooted initiative will not be a celebration of power but, rather, a rigorous examination of it — one driven by an understanding that power in a power-obsessed city is abused as easily as it is employed toward noble ends. It will marshal the authority and expertise of one of the world’s leading newsrooms to mine a complex, subjective topic. At its heart will be a dynamic list of 101 of the city’s most powerful and influential people, who will be brought to life through deeply reported profiles, data-driven stories, essays, podcasts, photography, video originals and events.

“The reporters and editors of the Los Angeles Times understand this city better than anyone,” Rubin said. “I’m really excited by the idea of tapping into their expertise to illuminate the people who, for better or worse, are writing the story of Los Angeles.”

An endeavor this ambitious requires a track record of trust and excellence that Rubin has brought to The Times’ newsroom for the past 20 years as a prize-winning reporter and editor focused on accountability in education, the Los Angeles Police Department and federal courts. He was twice part of teams that won Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news coverage, in 2004 for The Times’ coverage of the Southern California wildfires and in 2016 for its coverage of the San Bernardino mass shooting.

He started in his new position Feb. 27.