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Hey, How'd You Transform Your LAT Columns Into A Book And Film, Steve Lopez?

A longtime newspaper columnist discusses writing about skid row, how his work reached the big screen, and his grievances with the news industry

By Alex Dueben - April 20, 2009
Before joining the Los Angeles Times in 2001, Steve Lopez had been a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 12 years, been a writer at large for Time, Inc. and the author of three novels. It was in Los Angeles that Lopez met Nathaniel Ayers, a homeless man playing a violin with two strings. Lopez learned that Ayers had been a music prodigy and a student at Juilliard before succumbing to mental illness. Lopez's columns about Ayers and their friendship captured the attention of the city in a way few newspaper stories do. Last year saw the release of The Soloist, Lopez's book-length account of their friendship, which was named Philadelphia's "One Book One City" title this year, and April 24 marks the release of the Paramount and Dreamworks film version starring Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Ayers. Lopez talked to recently about crossing the line of objectivity in his columns, his take on where the newspaper industry went wrong, and why he's embracing the Twitter feed and Web videos he "might have bitched about three years ago."...

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