Los Angeles Times Assistant Managing Editor, California/Metro, Shelby Grad:
I’m very excited to announce that Hector Becerra will be our new City Editor.
It would not be an exaggeration to call Hector an L.A. Times legend. He’s spent his entire career here, chronicling the city with the heart of an insider and the skepticism of an outsider. Hector was born and raised in Los Angeles, and few people know the city’s many glories and cruelties so well. He’s spent two decades writing about L.A. in innovative and surprising ways. As a feature writer, he specialized in the little guy – the homeless man who built a magical hidden garden off the East L.A. interchange, the tough life of strawberry pickers on the central coast, Boyle Heights’ last Jew and so many more. As an investigative reporter, Hector was at the center of The Times’ accountability crusade in such cities as Bell, Vernon, Cudahy and Lynwood. And that doesn’t count Hector’s brilliant work covering crime and gangs, immigration and, yes, Southern California’s seemingly never-changing but obsessively followed weather.
Hector became an editor in 2015 and has lead our coverage of immigration and neighborhoods. He’s made it his mission to have The Times reflect the Los Angeles of today, with stories that take us inside communities many of our readers breeze past on the freeway.
In doing so, he’s continued a Times tradition that began during the Chandlers’ empire-building, water-stealing days: connecting the sprawling collection of communities and people who live here into a shared civic conservation. Like all of us, he sees this job first and foremost as being about public service. And as you know, he has no trouble speaking truth to power when that is necessary.
In his new job, Hector will continue to run a reporting team but also help organize daily newsgathering and advance planning. He will also assist Monte, our breaking news master who has quietly transformed our morning operation. We saw that in the coverage of the wine country fires, when Monte and Hector mobilized a small army to cover that disaster in all its facets — the losses, the battles, the deaths and the public accountability. The coverage helped drive latimes.com to record traffic in October.
We’ve been through a lot the last few months — and it’s a tribute to all of you that all this drama never diminished the incredible journalism Metro has been producing. The latest this Sunday, Rich’s dive into the death of the Mexican dream, says so much about our ambition. Taken together with Rich’s last project — about the plight of Mexican farm workers — they show a remarkable commitment to expose the crushing inequities of the little guy in Mexico.
And December will bring more important stories so stay tuned.