Frank del Olmo
By Thomas Clannin
Los Angeles Times associate editor and columnist Frank del
Olmo died of an apparent heart attack February 19.
The journalism community, the Latino community and the Southern
California community as a whole have lost a strong and dedicated
voice. Our condolences go out to the del Olmo family.
As journalists we have lost a brother. Latinos have lost
a voz sincera, a sincere voice that through articles and columns
chronicled the changing face of Southern California's Latinos.
He was there, with the working class immigrants, writing about
their struggles to fulfill the promise of the American Dream.
He shed light on the growing ranks of Latino politicians,
the ethical ones as well as the corrupt ones, and ultimately
showed that Latinos are just as important as any another thread
in the fabric of American life.
We can all learn a lesson or two in empathy from his writing.
Frank's passing also reminds us that his work continues. Latino
journalists remain underrepresented in our nation's newsrooms.
As Frank would likely say, it's not just a question of equity,
it's a matter of getting it right.
About Frank del Olmo
Frank del Olmo's distinguished career began in 1970 as a summer
intern with the Los Angeles Times. A graduate from Cal State
Northridge, del Olmo became a full-time staff writer with
the LA Times in 1971 and as the only Spanish-speaking reporter
on the metro staff at the time covered topics that varied
from the Mexican border to farm labor. From 1976-79 del Olmo
worked for the Foreign Desk at the Times as a correspondent
in Mexico and Central America. In 1980 he became a member
of The Times editorial board and began writing a regular op-ed
column on Latino affairs. Del Olmo was name as an associate
editor in 1998. Del Olmo has been awarded with a Pulitzer
Prize Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service in 1984 for
a series on Southern California's Latino Community and received
an Emmy Award for writing "The Unwanted," a documentary
on illegal immigration.