Speaking to the L.A. Times, Leslie Jordan was always good for a sassy one-liner: “I’ve been a fan and a friend for over 10 years now. I was hoping to have the chance to come and give the city back to them. But there was a lot of politics there that I didn’t understand.” But it was the L.A. Times that let him in. In the early ’90s, Jordan was one of two editors who had the clout and clout was a great asset. As the paper’s top political editor, Les had the final say on the hiring and firing of editorials, a chance to call the shots. In other words, he held enormous sway over who got what news story in the paper.
Jordan had worked for the L.A. Times for more than 15 years. He had begun as an assistant copy writer at the paper. Then, under Lou Dubow, he worked his way up through the ranks, first as the paper’s features editor and then, later, in charge of local and state politics, a paper he now considers the best in the city. He was also the first in the city with a computer–the first reporter, the first city editor, the first city editor with a computer.
Jordan has seen both sides of newsroom politics. As one of the most respected newsrooms in the city, he has been able to make friends on both sides of the aisle. In the last quarter century, he has seen the evolution of the newspaper as it’s grown from an independent newspaper to a national institution. He understands the value of politics in shaping a career as a media reporter and editor. He knows the media should be more involved in government. And what he has learned from all his experience is that, in his view, no matter the source of your news, you need to be the reporter.
A native of the Bay Area, Jordan spent the summers in Southern California before he made