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The 54th Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture at UC Riverside will be the first to take place on campus in three years. This year’s lecturer is Kevin Merida, Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Times.
Merida took the helm of the largest newsgathering organization in the West in June 2021 and oversees the newsroom as well as Times Community News and Los Angeles Times en Español.
Previously, Merida was a senior vice president at ESPN and editor in chief of the Undefeated, a multimedia platform that explores the intersections of race, sports, and culture. Merida arrived at ESPN in November 2015 and launched the Undefeated in May 2016. Under his leadership, the Undefeated gradually expanded across Walt Disney Co. with a content portfolio that ranged from award-winning journalism to documentaries and television specials, from albums and music videos to live events, digital talk shows and two bestselling children’s books.
During his tenure at ESPN, he also oversaw the investigative/news enterprise unit, the television shows “E:60” and “Outside the Lines,” and chaired ESPN’s editorial board.
Before joining ESPN, Merida spent 22 years at the Washington Post as a congressional correspondent, national political reporter, longform feature writer, magazine columnist and senior editor in several roles. He led the national staff for four years during the Obama presidency and was managing editor overseeing news and features coverage for nearly three years. During his tenure as managing editor, he helped lead the Post to four Pulitzer Prizes, and the newspaper embarked on a digital transformation that made it one of the fastest growing news organizations in the country.
Prior to the Post, from 1983 to 1993, Merida worked at the Dallas Morning News as a special projects reporter, local political writer, national correspondent based in Washington, White House correspondent covering the George H.W. Bush presidency and assistant managing editor in charge of foreign and national news coverage. In 1990, Merida was part of a Morning News team that was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in explanatory journalism for a special report on the world’s “hidden wars.” Merida began his career at the Milwaukee Journal, where he worked from 1979 to 1983 as a general assignment reporter.
Merida is co-author of “Supreme Discomfort: The Divided Soul of Clarence Thomas” and the bestselling “Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs.” He is a contributor to and editor of the anthology, “Being a Black Man: At the Corner of Progress and Peril,” based on an award-winning Washington Post series he led.
Merida’s honors include being named Journalist of the Year in 2000 by the National Association of Black Journalists, receiving the Missouri Honors Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism in 2018, and receiving NABJ’s Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020.