The Los Angeles City Council adjourned today in memory of late, great Los Angeles Times staffer George Ramos.

The journalist was found dead at his home over the weekend in Morro Bay after co-workers at CalCoastNews called authorities because they hadn't heard from him in days.

Ramos worked at the Times from 1978 to 2003, when he left to become chairman of the journalism program at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He was one of the most influential …

… leaders of the movement to get more Latinos in California newsrooms, and he spent time as president of CCNMA: Latino Journalists of California.

He was successful at helping to attract Latinos to the Times and in getting the Times to open its doors to what would become L.A. County's largest ethnic group. Many a journalist has attributed at least some of their existence in the industry to Ramos' efforts, mentoring and goodwill.

At the Times Ramos contributed to three Pulitzer Prize-winning efforts, including its Latino series in 1984, its coverage of the 1992 riots, and its coverage of the 1994 earthquake.

Times columnist Patt Morrison recently recalled Ramos' first-person account from his riot coverage, in which he wrote:

I rushed outside … to report on the destruction of my newspaper's first floor offices, when a black man in Raiders garb pointed a gun at me. After a tour in Vietnam, I thought I'd seen everything. In the years since my return to the U.S., I have tried to discount the increasing violence in my city, most of it the street gang variety. I guess I hoped that what I wrote about the tearful predicaments of its victims might help change things. Now, with my own life in the balance, I told the gunman matter-of-factly: 'I'm a reporter. I'm taking notes. I'm doing my job. I don't know what you're going to do but I'm going to do my job.' He didn't shoot. He just picked up a rock, flung it at The Times and ran away.

Today L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said:

George was a tenacious reporter and a brilliant story teller who always wrote from the heart. A proud son of the Eastside, he intimately captured the Latino experience in Los Angeles and never lost sight of the human dimension in journalism. He will be greatly missed but his legacy and enduring love for our City will live on through the many young journalists he mentored throughout the years.


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