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A Conversation with LA Times Reporter and Alumna Erin Logan

LA Times reporter and alumna Erin Logan talks to AU SOC about her journey to the White House, her day-to-day life, and how identity shapes her work.

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Erin Logan LA Times Reporter

Erin Logan, SOC/MA‘18, is a reporter at the Los Angeles Times working from the Washington, D.C., bureau. Logan grew up in Stone Mountain, Georgia with her parents and older sister. In 2017, Logan graduated from Vanderbilt University with a joint BA in African-American and Diaspora Studies and European History and a minor in Italian Studies. After receiving her undergraduate degree, Logan came to SOC and graduated the following year with an MA in Journalism and Public Affairs. Before joining the LA Times, she worked as a reporter at the Baltimore Sun Media Group. During her three-and-a-half years at the LA Times, Logan founded the LA Times Guild Black Caucus and was named in the Forbes 30 under 30 this year. 

American University School of Communication (AU SOC) Digital Communications Assistant Raven Heurtelou was recently able to chat with Erin about her journey to the White House, her day-to-day life, and how identity shapes her work. 

AU SOC: What led you to pursue a career in journalism? 

Erin Logan: My career-defining moment came when I was an intern at a public radio station and decided that I would become a journalist. I attended graduate school at SOC and met Amy Eisman, who was phenomenal. As a general assignment reporter, I never have the same day – sometimes I work at the White House, sometimes I travel, sometimes I knock on people’s doors. That’s the good thing about journalism: no one has the same job. I am looking into a story about three killings that took place last year in Riverside, California by a now dead Virginia cop, who had a history of exploiting minors. 

AU SOC: How has your identity influenced your work? 

Logan: This is a hard question. Being true to who I am is paramount. Even small things like going to [solidcore], being in bed by 9, and listening to Taylor Swift remind me that I will always be authentic to myself in both my work and personal life. 

In the White House briefing room, I’ve become acutely aware of my sex and gender – it’s not common for Black women to enter that room let alone enter it with their natural hair. I’m letting my hair grow the way it naturally does out of my head. 

The process of establishing the LA Times Guild Black Caucus was organic, chaotic, and righteous. Something that remains important to me, journalism, and wider writing communities is the capitalization of Black. Many stories written about Black people can feel alien – capitalizing Black is just a small step to make people feel as though they exist and matter. 

AU SOC: Why is journalism important to democracy, in your opinion? 

Logan: It’s a journalist’s job to investigate and report on the things we don’t know. Albeit difficult, it is incredibly important to uncover the doings of government at the national, state, and local levels. The partisan divide in America is, plainly put, bleak. America was founded on so many divisions and they will not simply go away. Journalists play an imperative role in probing the truth and writing the stories that help shed light on malfeasance and translate to people’s interpretations of the world.

AU SOC: What advice do you have for aspiring journalists? 

Logan: My advice to aspiring journalists is to take care of yourself first – it’s an unprecedented time for folks everywhere. Be a kind and decent person before all else.