Daniel Hernandez Tells All — Doesn’t Ask a Mexican

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Daniel Hernandez, LA-based young award-winning journalist, sits down for an interview at LAist.

Hernandez did an especially well-reported and controversial series for the LA Weekly on the South L.A. Farm story, but he’s not asked about that. In fact, LAist doesn’t link to even touch on one of the stories in the series. This is a wasted opportunity, considering the amount of criticism he took for his work.

Before he joined the Weekly, he was at the LA Times. His profile of the OC Weekly’s columnist Gustavo Arellano was the type of writing that the Metro section lacks — smart, sharp and with a voice.

At UC-Berkeley, as editor of the Daily Californian, he caught flack, as well. And then there’s the Swedish writer who ripped him off. FBLA thinks these are the modern rites of passage for reporters on their way up.

Don’t get us wrong — the LAist interview is worth reading. Hernandez answers even the most pro-forma questions thoughtfully, such as: What subject matter would you want to own?

None. That kind of thinking is bad for my field of work. I really wish there were more young bicultural voices in L.A. journalism, complicating the dialogue, bringing their own perspective and experiences into the mix, challenging assumptions. I wish I had a view into Koreatown by a good, curious, bilingual Korean journalist, for instance, or with L.A.’s Persian population. It’s up to the daily papers in L.A. to look past the J-school and Ivy League pools and actively recruit and shape talented young journalists from campuses in our own backyard(s), because they’re out there. But that’s just my opinion.

LAist, under the lead of Tony Pierce, has really jumped ahead of the pack of Los Angeles general interest blogs. Tony told FBLA that he’d like to run a daily interview, and that the semi-cute standard questionnaire will be gone. Hernandez should be glad he didn’t have to answer:

Where do you want to be when the big one hits?