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How Zócalo Public Square Got Its Start at ‘Snooty’ LA Gathering

Last week, we highlighted Ken Layne’s great remembrance piece for The Awl about humbly launching LAExaminer.com in 2001 and almost carrying over his pioneering news-blog efforts into print. Now, on the occasion of website Zócalo Public Square’s 10th anniversary, founder Gregory Rodriguez has shared an equally delightful trip down memory lane.

He explains that around the time Layne and Matt Welch were building out LAExaminer, he was happily working on his own stuff and only occasionally venturing out of the house to network. It was during one such rare 2002 sojourn that everything turned:

I wasn’t thinking about that [subconscious need for creative brethren] in 2002 when I accepted an invitation to attend a snooty LA gathering of writer types. I was honored to be a part of the mix, looking forward to some interesting conversations. Instead, a small, untoward comment would wind up shaking me out of my solitary life.

Someone jokingly asked me, in front of a cast of strangers, whether I had been invited “under the Mexican quota.”

How can you not click on through to find out what happened next? Everything that followed, including the fact that Zócalo’s first lecturer went on to become management editor at The Economist, is well worth celebrating. Thanks Mr. Rodriguez for more great LA media memories.

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Zócalo Public Square Gives Editor Joe Mathews a Weekly Column
Wim Wenders Explains Why He Had to Leave LA
Z&oacutecalo Square Ramps Up Editorial Operations

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