I spent years chasing the suspicious slaying of Ruben Salazar, a trailblazing journalist who inspired a generation of Latino reporters. (Photo illustration by Martina Ibáñez-Baldor/Los Angeles Times.)...

I was part of a team of Los Angeles Times reporters and editors that was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize gold medal for public service for a series of stories exposing alleged government corruption in the City of Bell. PHOTO: 2011 Pulitzer Prize Winners Our articles detailed how top officials in Bell, one of the poorest cities in Los Angeles County, enriched themselves with extraordinary salaries and benefits while illegally raising taxes on residents and resorting to other legally questionable schemes to raise revenue.

In 1994, I filed my first California Public Records Act Request to review the Sheriff's Department files on Ruben Salazar. The department denied the request, saying the records were confidential law enforcement files. I made another CPRA request in 1995. It, too, was denied. Then in early 2010, as the 40th anniversary of Salazar's slaying approached, I filed another request with Sheriff Lee Baca. He refused to release the files. RELATED: Documents - View FBI and LAPD Records on Ruben Salazar I produced several reports and a video after Baca's denial, which sparked an outcry from members of the Salazar family, activists, journalists and elected officials -- all of whom said it was time for the department to come clean on the case and release its records. Finally, in late February 2011, Baca agreed to allow a limited viewing of the once-secret records by journalists and academics.

In the months leading up to the 40th anniversary of the killing of Ruben Salazar, I filed a California Public Records Act request with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department seeking documents that might shed light on what happened the day the newsman died. An L.A. Times columnist and Spanish-language KMEX-TV news director, Salazar was shot in the head by a tear-gas missile fired by a sheriff's deputy after rioting exploded in East L.A. during the National Chicano Moratorium Against the Vietnam War on Aug. 29, 1970. The case has been clouded by controversy and speculation for 40 years.

This investigation took me into the underworld of human smuggling, organized crime and narco-trafficking in the badlands east of Tijuana. The area was controlled by the ruthless Arellano-Felix drug cartel. My colleagues and I investigated the Mexican smuggling village of Jacume and the corrupt law enforcement officials who allowed the...

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.

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...

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...