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LA Times Pulitzer Winners Feared for their Safety in Bell

LA Times Pulitzer winners Jeff Gottlieb and Ruben Vives were in New York this week to speak at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. The Columbia Journalism Review wrote up their talk and shared this story we had never heard before.

After threatening to sue if their information request was not fulfilled, Gottlieb and Vives received a seemingly ominous invitation: come and get the documents, in person, at nearby Little Bear Park, from city manager Robert Rizzo himself. It even induced a bit of paranoia; Vives envisioned a white van pulling up and kidnapping him from the parking lot. The story’s scope became apparent when a cohort of city officials, including Bell police officers, showed up to confront the reporters.

Gottlieb credits having the backing of a major newspaper like the Times for enabling them to land the story–and perhaps avoid being disappeared. “[A]s opposed to the cliché of the blogger sitting in his underwear writing. It’s too easy to push those people away.”

Can’t push this Fishie away. He doesn’t just blog in his underwear. He’s more than willing to show up at your house in his tighty-whities to get the story.

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