Web Video Portfolio

Spread of An International Street Gang

MS-13 gang member arrested in El Salvador. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times

MS-13 gang member arrested in El Salvador. Photo: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times

This gritty multimedia project took me across the United States and into Mexico and Central America. We showed how a U.S. immigration policy of deporting “criminal aliens” backfired with members of the Mara Salvatrucha, spreading what was once a Los Angeles gang across six countries and 33 states.

VIDEOS: Gang Spreads Across U.S. and Central America

We captured original video footage inside a prison in El Salvador and interviewed gang members, law enforcement officials, victims and intervention workers for this eight-month-long project. Here’s the link to the entire series.

PHOTOS: MS-13 Gang in U.S. and El Salvador

Occupy L.A. Protesters Arrested, Camp Razed


iPhone video footage I shot during the final hours of Occupy L.A.

The night began with Occupy L.A. protesters singing, dancing and chanting. But the festive mood changed as the LAPD swooped down on the City Hall encampment.

In the end, nearly 300 people were arrested and the grassy park was cleared. I was one of a number of Los Angeles Times reporters who witnessed the events unfold as we blogged, Tweeted and shot photos and video footage at the scene. During the course of the night, I produced three videos that were published on L.A. Now, the L.A. Times breaking-news site. My colleagues and I stayed on the streets until police quashed the protest in the early morning hours on Nov. 30.

Ruben Salazar’s Suspicious Slaying


Ruben Salzar’s Legacy Lives On from Robert Lopez on Vimeo.

To this day, questions still swirl around the death of L.A. Times columnist and KMEX news director Ruben Salazar, who was killed by a Sheriff’s deputy on Aug. 29, 1970. I produced this Ruben Salazar video, pictured above, in 2008 after the U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp honoring the reporter’s legacy. My Column One article was written in 1995 for  the L.A. Times on the 25th anniversary of the newsman’s slaying. I relied on a variety of sources, including friends and colleagues of Salazar, as well as documents from the FBI and LAPD, to reconstruct the final weeks before Salazar was killed by a sheriff’s deputy while covering an anti-Vietnam War rally that exploded into violence. I also wrote a follow-up article in 1999, after waiting nearly six years for the FBI’s Salazar file.

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Mapping Traffic Problems


View Westside traffic — some of the worst in the U.S. in a larger map

Sometimes visualizations are the best way to convey information. I produced this interactive map as part of a news package about traffic on the Westside of Los Angeles — some of the nation’s worst. The map was a perfect platform for viewers to check traffic data in areas they traveled. I obtained the raw data from the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica and then crunched the numbers to find congested intersections and analyze traffic patterns over a period of several years. To tell my tale, I wrote the story around a mother, Cathy Glueck, who lives on the Westside and relishes the challenge of tackling traffic. After interviewing her, I knew she would be great in front of a camera. So here’s a video I also produced, which takes viewers on a ride along with Glueck as she travels with her daughter to soccer practice during the afternoon rush hour.

Affluence, Homelessness Collide In Venice

I produced this 2009 video and article while investigating a proposal to ban overnight parking in Venice, an affluent beach community in Los Angeles. The proposal, ultimately rejected by the state Coastal Commission, would have prevented people from sleeping in their vehicles. In recent years, Venice has become a magnet for people who live in their vans, cars, RVs and campers. The issue has been divisive and controversial. This story was ideally suited for video, allowing viewers to see the situation for themselves and meet people on both sides of the controversy.

Boxing Keeps Youths Away From Gangs

This 2008 project was a great opportunity to shoot video footage in a classic boxing gym, as well as shine a light on a program that helps keep kids out of trouble. The place is a throwback to an era when cigar-chomping managers oversaw prizefighters who had little more than desire and an abundance of heart.

Illegal Dumping Plagues L.A. Neighborhoods

This 2008 video, along with the article I wrote, shocked many of our viewers. Armed with my camera, I documented how alleys in some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods were filled with trash, festering for up to six weeks before being cleaned by city crews. The refuse included household garbage and construction rubble, as well as dead dogs and roosters. I also produced an interactive map with embedded video content showing arrest locations, illegal-dumping hot stops and problem alleys.

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LAPD Cracks Down On Illegal Dumping

L.A. city responded quickly to my illegal dumping investigation. The mayor ordered reforms in the Public Works Department, the main agency responsible for enforcing illegal dumping and keeping alleys clean. On top of that, the LAPD formed a task force to arrest violators caught dumping refuse in South Los Angeles. The police response is documented by this story and video.

Venice Beach, Surfing Lifestyle

This was a fun 2008 video to produce. I got to surf and shoot footage in the water with a special housing for my camcorder. Shooting in the water poses an entirely different set of challenges, chief among those is that there is no stable footing. You have to hold the camera steady while you swim around and float in the water — all while working against the waves and current. Here’s the article I wrote that accompanied the video.