i just heard some sad news that one of my former cohorts jose martinez is heading up north.
how very sad.
jose was one of the people that i was lucky enough to work with when i was at kpcc.
we needed someone who was bilingual, ambitious, brilliant, and fearless.
i called up my man tom nelson who oversees the college paper at LMU and said yo do you have any EIC-types over there?
real leaders? and preferably someone who speaks spanish like it aint no thing?
tom said, not only do i have an EIC-type, but last year’s EIC was the college journalist of the year!
tom presented him with the highest recommendation and after i met Jose i understood why.
very professional, willing to jump on any story, funny, personable, and a gentleman.
jose hustled each and every day to make the very important blog On Central what it was intended to be:
an unblinking look at a portion of South Central LA, focused on health, safety and quality of life.
one thing i loved about Jose was how quickly he embraced working with the LAPD and LA Sheriffs Dept.
without his people skills he would had never been able to write the three part series Know Your Graffiti
where he went around a neighborhood with a gang expert and deciphered what was written on the walls. totally fascinating.
as you can see from the top photo, Jose was also a natural at the host for several panel discussions at the Crawford Family Forum.
what a solid dude and a very cool individual.
kpcc is going to have a very hard time replacing Jose. whoever takes the OnCentral torch will have very big shoes to fill
figuratively and literally.
On Central is one of the big reasons people should donate to public radio. no one else in LA is producing that many stories a week
about the center of LA that for many ridiculous reasons gets overlooked by the mainstream media.
yes the stories arent always sexy, but they are so important because as South LA goes, so goes all of LA.
at the Times i totally wanted a South Central blog, but it was never approved. one of the main selling points to working at KPCC for me
was the fact that not only did they have a blog that covered this important area, but they were so passionate about it.
you don’t get that sort of passion in for-profit ventures where the subjects of your pieces probably wont subscribe to your paper.
On Central was all about telling the right stories, every day, simply because they were the important, right stories.
another reason to love KPCC is because On Central is a great reflection of CEO Bill Davis’ vision that public doesnt just mean public for some
it means public for all of LA – especially those who will very soon be the majority of LA: our Hispanic brothers and sisters.
i pity the successor to Jose who will have to work in his virtual shadow because he totally kicked ass on that valuable beat.
best of luck Jose, even though you wont need it!