OLD Media Moves

Veteran LA Times labor reporter dies

May 4, 2006

Harry Bernstein, a labor reporter for the Los Angeles Times whose hiring at the paper in the 1960s marked a change in how the paper covered labor issues, has died. He was 83.

An obituary in the Times on Thursday written by Jon Thurber noted, “Coming two years after Otis Chandler took the reins as publisher of The Times, the hiring of Bernstein to report about labor issues was considered remarkable. The paper’s antipathy toward organized labor was historic and deep. And in the 1960s, organized labor had much less impact in Southern California than it does today. But Chandler wanted more nuanced, balanced coverage of issues in The Times.

“Hiring Bernstein from the Los Angeles Examiner after the morning Hearst paper folded in 1962 was ‘very significant to the development of the paper,’ said Bill Boyarsky, a former city editor, political writer and columnist for The Times.

“‘He brought straightforward, honest labor reporting to the paper,’ Boyarsky said. ‘For the first time, labor’s point of view was consistently reflected in news stories. He reported the huge transformation of Los Angeles through the prism of labor and management issues.’

“In his book, ‘Privileged Son,’ about Chandler, Dennis McDougal noted that Bernstein’s early stories brought criticism from business leaders who were unaccustomed to seeing labor’s views reflected in The Times.”

Read more here.

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