Media Moves

LA Times launches new climate section with more than a dozen journalists

September 29, 2023

Posted by Mariam Ahmed

The following was sent out from The Los Angeles Times:

Staffers on the Climate California secton. (Photo: LA Times)

Wildfires. Sea-level rise. Extreme heat. Drought. California is already dealing with the consequences of climate change, and our state’s future will be defined by how we adapt. To better cover this vital story, the Los Angeles Times is launching a new Climate California section.

You can expect aggressive and impactful reporting on climate change, the natural world, health and science — and even more of the sophisticated, ambitious and approachable coverage that has earned the Los Angeles Times four Pulitzer Prizes in environmental journalism in the last two decades.

Climate California will include coverage from our newly formed Environment, Health and Science department, which includes existing Environment, Science and Health reporters and several new contributors:

Emily Alpert Reyes, who covers local public health for the California section, will expand the scope of her coverage to include healthcare policy, medical research and accountability. She previously covered Los Angeles city government as well as changing demographic trends in California and nationwide.

Tyrone Beason, who writes about America through the lenses of race and culture, will contribute stories on environmental justice.

Tony Briscoe, whose work helped to expose how the state’s largest toxic cleanup left lead contamination and frustration in neighborhoods surrounding the former Exide lead recycling plant, will cover air quality and climate policy.

Ian James, whose reporting on water issues has enlightened readers at a time when climate change is compounding our complex water challenges, will continue to cover water in California and the West.

Russ Mitchell, who has covered the auto industry for Business, will report on the epic transition to electric vehicles and energy storage. His coverage will blend elements of technology, policy and consumerism, with a particular focus on California motorists.

Corinne Purtill, whose lively writing makes complex topics easy to understand, will continue covering stories involving scientific and medical research. Before joining The Times last year, her work appeared in the New Yorker, Time Magazine, on the BBC and elsewhere.

Melody Petersen, whose accountability journalism for the Business department exposed the dark side of organ donation and how pharmacies fight to hide their mistakes from the public, will continue covering the business side of healthcare. She is the author of “Our Daily Meds,” a book about the pharmaceutical industry.

Sammy Roth, whose Boiling Point newsletter and deeply reported “Repowering the West” series have established him as one of journalism’s most informed voices in climate reporting, will become The Times’ first-ever climate columnist. He will continue to helm Boiling Point, which has expanded circulation to twice a week.

Susanne Rust, who has exposed the duplicity of petrochemical corporations who denied global warming in public but acknowledged it in boardrooms, will continue her focus on climate investigations.

Louis Sahagún, who routinely takes Times readers to Southern California’s most remote and fascinating habitats, covers public lands, conservation and Indigenous communities.

Hayley Smith, one of our most prolific and inventive reporters, will join the team from Fast Break, where she will continue her exhaustive coverage of the many ways climate change is reordering life in California, including flooding, water rationing, fires and deadly heat.

Alex Wigglesworth, whose detailed and richly illustrated stories on forest management have illuminated the challenges facing fire-prone California, will cover wildfire and forestry.

Rosanna Xia will cover oceans, the coast and sea-level rise — an issue for which her coverage earned her recognition as a Pulitzer Prize finalist for explanatory journalism. Her reporting has also exposed the toxic legacy of DDT dumping off the coast of Los Angeles. Xia’s first book, “California Against the Sea: Visions for Our Vanishing Coastline,” based on her extensive beat reporting, debuts this week.

Monte Morin, environment editor, will lead the new department. As a breaking news editor, Morin launched and coordinated coverage of the San Bernardino terror attacks, which helped to earn The Times a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 2016. He has directed coverage of wildfires, oil spills and other environmental disasters, and helped his reporters produce award-winning coverage of extreme heat, drought, the crisis on the Colorado River, Indigenous rights and forest management.

In the initial phase, Science and Medicine Editor Karen Kaplan and Special Projects Editor Millie Quan will help shape coverage and develop projects for our Environment, Health and Science team. A graduate of MIT and Columbia, Kaplan has written and edited stories on technology, medicine and science for close to 30 years at The Times. In addition to producing award-winning enterprise stories, Quan is a former Column One editor who oversaw coverage of the 2000 and 2020 presidential campaigns.

Audience Engagement Assistant Editor Javier Panzar will help ensure our journalism addresses the issues that matter most to our readers. Deputy Editor Nancy Rivera Brooks will continue editing Roth and Boiling Point from the Business department.

The section launches with the latest addition to the Repowering the West series.

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