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A salute to Beth Barrett: L.A.’s best reporter

Beth Barrett.jpg

Revealed: Antonio’s Mistress

GANGS: Terror in the Streets

Does the Valley get its FAIR SHARE?

Anatomy of malpractice

Rodney King: The record against LAPD

Rocketdyne Lab contaminated

Cranston‘s funny money games

Payola to L.A. Prep Star

Valley woman to the rescue


Those are headlines from just a few of the hundreds of stories Daily News reporter Beth Barrett has done over the last 22 years.

No reporter in L.A. has had a bigger impact on the politics of the city or raised public awareness more about important issues.

Tonight, the Society of Professional Journalists in L.A. is honoring Beth for her achievement along with five other distinguished journalists: Bob Banfield of KABC-TV,  John Rabe of KPCC-FM, Tom Tugend of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles and Los Angeles Times reporters Scott Glover and Matt Lait.

I have had the privilege of working with Beth since she came to the Daily News from Alaska in 1986 and nobody ever deserved to be recognized for her achievement more.

The most remarkable thing about Beth is that as tough and relentless as she at nailing down a story, people still talk to her because she is always fair and straightforward about what she is reporting.

Much of the Daily News’ reputation for hard-hitting coverage of City Hall is due to Beth. She is one of a kind, a great reporter and a great friend.


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8 Responses to A salute to Beth Barrett: L.A.’s best reporter

  1. Burned says:

    That’s a nice fairytale, but it simply ain’t true. She is hardly professional.
    A few years ago, as a government staffer, I was a source for her on a controversial story. I provided her information on the condition of anonymity. She violated that anonymity, named me to elected official she was writing about, and that elected official’s chief of staff launched an aggressive effort to get me fired.

  2. Third Party says:

    I’ve never been a source of Beth, but I have heard her talking on the phone to some sources. She is TOUGH – and I’m being kind with words here….

  3. Anonymous says:

    I strongly disagree that her stories on Mirthala or publishing the salaries and names of DWP workers was commendable — both were unnecessary invasions of privacy, and a decline toward tabloid journalism.
    Lots of reporters no doubt had the Mirthala angle, but weighed breaking that relative to the negative impact it would have on the city and government; for a whole summer and then some, the Mayor wasn’t allowed by paparazzi-like media to talk about his job as Mayor, and then that hounding by reporters at the port, where the little female Hispanic reporter intentionally darted past a security cop as fast as she could, into a secure area to ask him about Mirthala, THAT blow-up leading to other reporters trying the same, and her suing the city…Meanwhile, the important and deadly problem of port pollution was never addressed. Delayed a year until now.
    And the Mayor was too absorbed with damage control to go to Sacramento in person to lobby for SoCal’s share of the gas taxes (some enormous $1.2 billion) that the Assembly swiped which were supposed to go toward our desperately needed local transportation funds, instead went into the General Budget and now we’re scrambling empty.
    And how did Mirthala “confirm” the Mirthala affair? By tracking down ex-wife Corina’s mother and going to Mirthala’s mother’s funeral in Phoenix, to look at guest logs and ask questions. Really tacky, tasteless and worthy of tabloids.
    The DWP employee names need never have been published, and subjecting the Daily News to a lawsuit over it was irresponsible waste of funds, that should have gone to real reporting. Barrett could have made the point about high DWP salaries just by publishing positions and salaries — she took advantage of the WORST part of the Internet, that there’s too much info out there already, with people’s DOB often, unlisted phones and addresses, family names on titles etc., so that ID theft and busybody snooping are a pasttime.
    Reporters using “the public’s right to know” as an excuse to get personal stuff for prurient curiosity is a slippery downward slope, and Beth Barrett has led the slide into the mud. Maybe people aren’t “looking upto” journalists precisely because of this stuff? When Woodward and Bernstein “snooped,” there was always a reader belief that it was for a good reason, one that truly contributed to an educated citizenry.

  4. Kim Thompson says:

    Congratulations Beth!
    My goodness, I could not disagree more with the negative comments about Beth. I agree she is tough and in our community – we love that about her. I’ve found her to be fair, relentless, not the least bit intimidated to ask the tough questions and smart enough to know what those questions were. She’s never betrayed a confidence or repeated a confidentiality in my dealings with her.
    She covered Sunshine Canyon Dump so well in the late 90′s and early 2000′s that I truly believe that it is partially due to her diligence and willingness to print those stories that have brought the City of Los Angeles to the Zero Waste Plan we currently have.
    The same with Jill Stewart. She was relentless, tough and not afraid to print the truth.
    They drilled us who live in the community until they believed what we were telling them before they pursued their stories and our community of Granada Hills loves them both. Thank you for trusting us. After Sunshine Canyon is closed, L.A. will never use landfills again.
    During our Mayoral Debate in 2000, we decided to have two reporters and Bill Rosendahl from Adelphia ask the questions and moderate the debate.
    We never thought twice. We had a community meeting and they overwhelmingly chose Beth and Jill to be the two reporters to moderate. A very successful debate that was too, if I do say so myself.
    So Beth – you deserve this and I’m glad you got it and I will be sure my community knows about it. Unlike those who commented before me, you are much appreciated here!
    Good Luck..

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  8. Still Watching says:

    Beth has devolved even further (if you can believe that) – she’s nothing more than a shill for Deasy, for Pearson, and for Apple. She and Hillel Aron take the comments of corporatists and call them “articles.” So much for progressivism; so much for journalism.

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