The News Behind the News: How Newspapers Find Their Stories They Write About
Today Pacifica Institute hosted reporter, journalist and at present the editor of the highest circulation newspaper of the West Coast. Steve Padilla is the religious and higher education editor of the Los Angeles Times.
He currently edits articles about religion and supervisors “general assignment” reporters who cover anything in Southern California. In his 20 years with the paper, Padilla has served in variety of reporting and editing positions. He was among the team of editors who oversaw coverage of the 2000 presidential election and is a frequent lecturer on writing technique. Before joining The Times, he worked at the San Diego Union and was founding editor of Hispanic Link Weekly Report, a national newsletter on Latino affairs. He earned his bachelor’s in print journalism and history from the University of Southern California.
During his speech Steve Padilla talked about their news sources and his experiences of his time with reporting and editing. He related how an old woman found very old unused dynamite and brought it to the police station and dropped it literally at the front desk where all the police officers (knowing how dangerous the old dynamite might become because of the leaks of the chemical and the probability of igniting itself instantaneously) ran for the cover. After the dynamite had been blown off safely and everything calmed down, Steve as a young reporter exclaimed how interesting and amazing an experience the police officers at the front desk of the station had. Right after that one of the police officers said well there is a more interesting one in which a driver mistakenly slammed the car into the police station and at another incidence some criminals shot right at the station right across from the street. Then Padilla said another news other than the original dynamite story emerged in his mind by the end of the weekend which he put it together with a title of Life at the Front Desk.
Steve shared some other memories and experiences into the perspective of the audience to let the readers of the Los Angeles Times to get to know how the news emerges in the paper and at present on the internet where you need to prepare news at a very high speed.
The greatest challenge for the reporters and editing Steve added was familiarity meaning thinking that knowing everything about that kind of news actually breeding some kind of ignorance, second is getting the toughest news that is statistics and others straight but ignoring the easy part.
The speech continued for another half hour with the barbeque and a lively discussion among the audience and Steve Padilla.