Long-time Los Angeles journalist Drex Heikes will return to California this summer to become LA Weekly's next editor. His homecoming follows another happy event: his acceptance last month of the Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service on behalf of the Las Vegas Sun for an investigation he assigned and edited.
During an 18-year career at the Los Angeles Times, Heikes served as editor of the Sunday magazine--where he directed both long-form news journalism and the coverage of local arts and culture--and as foreign affairs editor in the paper's Washington bureau. He spent the fall of 2001 in New York City supervising the Times' coverage of the World Trade Center attacks.
In 2005 Heikes was offered the number-two position at the Sun and a rare opportunity to recast the traditional afternoon daily as a magazine devoted to enterprise and analysis. Two years ago he noticed that construction workers were dying at a high rate on the Las Vegas Strip. He assigned a newly hired reporter to look into the deaths and then guided the newspaper's year-long series of stories and editorials that led to the Pulitzer.
Heikes said he is eager to invigorate LA Weekly's online content and also do the kind of print journalism that requires space and time.
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"Village Voice Media publishes vital newspapers because it has upheld the vision of its founding editor, Mike Lacey," Heikes said. "Mike is a reporter at heart. His mission has never wavered. First you report, and you report hard. Then you write--and you do it as a storyteller.
"Find me another vehicle for that today.
"I am thrilled, absolutely thrilled, at this chance to lead a Los Angeles newspaper in that mold," he said.
Heikes will take charge of LA Weekly on August 17th.