Former Los Angeles Times reporter is keynote speaker for Founders Day

Christina Toroyan

Kevin Roderick, this year’s Founders Day keynote speaker, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism back in 1983 from CSUN. Photo Credit: Misael Virgen / Assistant Photo Editor

While working as a managing editor for the Daily Sundial, Kevin Roderick was involved in discovering that Associated Students had committed election fraud.

Roderick said the Sundial’s aggressive coverage of the story resulted in the entire student government getting recalled. After not knowing what he wanted to do with his life, this experience at CSUN helped him find out.

Being a self-proclaimed voracious news gatherer from an early age, Roderick considered journalism the most important thing to be part of once he started CSUN.

“It was just a matter of looking around and seeing what I wanted to do, and I just wanted to be part of the media world,” Roderick said.

Roderick graduated from CSUN in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He will be the keynote speaker at Founders Day on Friday.

“I love talking to people who have an interest with the same sense of place and history that I have,” Roderick said. “Northridge is my hometown and I love having the chance to talk at CSUN.”

After graduating, he started an internship at the Los Angeles Times, which led to a full-time job. He spent 27 years at the Times as a reporter and an editor.

Roderick created LA Observed, a news website about Los Angeles and the media, after leaving the LA Times. Roderick now works as the director of the UCLA newsroom and is also an author.

Growing up in the Valley was the foundation for Roderick to write his book on the San Fernando Valley.

“The Valley was a place that had a story to be told, which nobody had ever told before,” Roderick said. “I knew there were a lot of stories to be told.”

Roderick said he wants people in Los Angeles to have a source available that will allow them to find out exactly what is going on in their city.

Eric Estrin, Roderick’s colleague and the creator and producer of the LA Observed Script Project, said he works hard trying to tell people’s stories.

“Roderick seems to be a tireless worker, constantly combining the web and print publications while finding and talking to new sources,” Estrin said. “I have heard rumors that he sleeps sometimes, but I have yet to confirm this.”

Mark Lacter, the editor of LA Biz Observed, said there are times when Roderick posts items at midnight or 1 a.m.

“Roderick understands how important it is for journalists and news organizations to present the news in an honest and dispassionate way,” Lacter said. “He does what any good reporter should do—he is always getting around town and on the lookout for sources and bits of information by asking a lot of questions.”

Jenny Burman, a feature blogger for the blog Chicken Corner at LA Observed, said Roderick’s impeccable work ethic contributes to his unflappable and fluid sense.

However, Roderick said he does have one regret.

“One of the biggest obstacles I think people deal with is talent,” Roderick said. “You only have so much of it and I wish I had more.”

Roderick added because the media world is changing so much, he takes everything year to year. He said even if his wish never gets granted, his role as an avid news deliverer to the people of Los Angeles never would have been possible without the direction he acquired working and gaining experience in the Daily Sundial newsroom.

“When I was a student at CSUN, I never thought I would end up spending half of my life at the LA Times and go on to create a website,” Roderick said.