Marian Miner Cook

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Reinventing the Los Angeles Times

Tue, February 21, 2023
Dinner Program
Kevin Merida

Since taking charge of the Los Angeles Times newsroom more than a year and a half ago, Executive Editor Kevin Merida has set out to reinvent the largest newspaper on the West Coast, and one of the largest in the country. The LA Times is branching out into digital news, podcasts, scripted shows, documentaries, earthquake bots, real-time wildfire maps. At the same time, it is appealing increasingly to readers of its home region, where close to half of the residents are Latino. In conversation with David Dreier ’75, the longtime congressman representing Claremont, Merida will speak to the changing nature of the Los Angeles Times in response to an evolving demographic, and about media coverage of government, going back to when Merida covered Dreier as a congressional correspondent for the Dallas Morning News and the Washington Post.

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service.

Kevin Merida is the executive editor of the Los Angeles Times. He took the helm of the largest news gathering organization in the West in June 2021 and oversees the newsroom as well as Times Community News and Los Angeles Times en Español.

Previously, Merida was a senior vice president at ESPN and editor in chief of the Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports and culture. Merida arrived at ESPN in November 2015 and launched the Undefeated in May 2016. Under his leadership, the Undefeated gradually expanded across Walt Disney Co. with a content portfolio that ranged from award-winning journalism to documentaries and television specials, from albums and music videos to live events, digital talk shows and two bestselling children’s books.

Prior to that, Merida was at the Washington Post for 22 years, working as a reporter, columnist, and managing editor. His résumé also includes stints as a reporter and an editor at the Dallas Morning News and as a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal. Merida is a member of the Pulitzer Prize board and serves as a trustee of Boston University.

David Dreier ’75 was a government major at CMC and was one of the youngest members ever elected to the United States Congress having begun his first campaign when he lived in Philips Hall. He was the youngest and one of the longest-serving chairman of the House Rules Committee in U.S. history. He led major institutional reforms and played a key role in passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement and every other free trade agreement into which the U.S. has entered. After leaving Congress, Dreier served on the Foreign Affairs Policy Board in the Obama administration, became a Distinguished Fellow at the Brookings Institution and, having long championed press freedoms, served as chairman of the Tribune Publishing Company. He has served for more than 25 years on CMC’s Board of Trustees. Dreier is the founder and chair of the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation. He has led the revival of CMC’s Dreier Roundtable, whose mission is to “inspire public service“ which includes the field of journalism.

This program is co-sponsored by the Dreier Roundtable whose mission it is to inspire public service.

Food for Thought: Podcast with Kevin Merida and David Dreier '75

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

Claremont McKenna College
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