Randy Hagihara, a longtime Los Angeles Times editor, who “delighted in finding and mentoring young journalists,” passed away Jan. 7 at his Huntington Beach, Calif. home at the age of 72, the publication reported.
According to his stepson, Sean Kawata, Hagihara passed after “a battle with esophageal cancer.”
Hagihara spent more than two decades at the L.A. Times, beginning in 1990, “with stints as deputy city editor, city editor and night city editor in the Orange County bureau…,” the publication said.
“Randy communicated toughness as an editor. And he was, in fact, damn tough,” said Martin Baron, who was editor of the Orange County edition in the 1990s and later became editor of the Washington Post.
Baron added in an e-mail to the L.A. Times that Hagihara “pressed for hard work, aggressive reporting, unequivocal truth-telling, clear writing and the most rigorous standards.” Additionally, Hagihara was “abundantly empathetic and generous in spirit, and forever willing to give professional guidance to reporters who were early in their careers,” Baron wrote to the L.A. Times.
Hagihara, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, “spent four years in the Air Force, with postings in Denver and Guam, then attended Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and Cal State University Northridge,” the publication stated.
Hagihara joined the now-defunct Koreatown Weekly, the first English-language newspaper for Korean Americans, in 1979.
Hagihara previously worked as an editor at the Peninsula Times Tribune, the Oakland Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News, the publication reported.
Later, Hagihara became the L.A. Times’ senior editor for recruitment and “ran Metpro, the news organization’s minority-recruitment program. He recruited hundreds of journalists who found careers at The Times and other publications,” the outlet reported.
Hagihara is survived by his stepson and a granddaughter, the L.A. Times stated.