Randy Economy: The voice of investigative journalism

Randy Economy began writing for his local newspaper’s sports section at the age of 12, and now, decades later, is an award-winning investigative journalist with his own news radio show on AM 870, The Answer. Growing up in a politically active family, Economy was highly exposed to the public life and decided to use his access to political figures as a tool to master the craft of investigative journalism.

“Freedom of press and freedom of media; that’s the corner stone of our society,” Economy said.

On Jan. 24, Economy officially launched his investigative radio show with former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, which will be aired weekly on Saturday nights on AM 870 “The Answer.”

On Jan. 24, Economy launched his investigative radio show with former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, on AM 870 The Answer.

Economy worked as an investigative journalist and online editor for Hews Media Group for the past five years under Editor-in-Chief Brian Hews. Hews Media Group is located in Southern California, specifically covering the cities in the South Los Angeles County.

“[Economy] has been somewhat fearless in pursuing issues that are out there,” Former Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley said. “We need more Randy Economy’s out there, monitoring governmental activities, exposing, and talking about what [elected officials] are doing one way or another.”

Economy and his former partner Hews received the 2013 LA Press Club Award for “Best Investigative Series” with their reporting on the corruption of LA County Assessor’s Office.

The 2013 LA Press Club described Economy and Hews efforts as “an amazing piece of investigative journalism that not only uncovered the root of a serious problem but also increased public awareness that, in turn, led to significant reform and change.”

This investigative series, which uncovered $1 billion dollars worth of corruption from inside the tax assessor’s office, led to a 2013 Pulitzer Prize nomination for Economy and Hews. After months of reporting and investigations, Economy published over 400 emails by using the Public Records Act request, resulting in the arrest of Assessor John Noguez, and three other tax consultants and property appraisers.

Economy explains that the most rewarding aspect in being a hard detective is being able “provide solace when there was something really bad going on.”

“It’s the job of the District Attorney to pursue corruption, but it’s absolutely vital to have journalists such as Randy and others to expose misconduct by political officials and conduct general reporting about what [political officials] are doing, whether it’s good or bad,” said Cooley.

Reporter Randy Economy, former District Attorney Steve Cooley and publisher Brian Hews  in an exclusive interview after Noguez was arrested.

Economy, Cooley and Hews in an exclusive interview during the Noguez scandal.

Economy is known for his other contributions such as uncovering the mismanagement of public funds by LA Controller Wendy Gruel, the corruption inside the Central Basin Municipal Water District, and the dishonesty of California State Senator Ronald Calderon and former Assemblyman Tom Calderon.

During his time at Hews Media Group, Economy received four LA Press Club awards for his reporting in hard news, news features and investigative series.

Economy abruptly resigned his position as opinion editor for the Los Cerritos Community News and the La Mirada Lamplighter toward the end of November to pursue his own investigative radio show. Economy explains that his decision to leave Hews Media Group primarily involves his passion to move to a different platform of journalism and addressing financial difficulties related to working for an online community paper.

Economy currently hosts his weekly radio show every Saturday night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is planning to address subject matters that journalists typically do not want to cover or may not have the access to.

“I want my show to make people think about the world around us here in Southern California and how everyone can help take charge of our local city halls, school districts, water boards, county halls of administration and to seek justice when an injustice has taken place,” Economy said on the radio show’s website.

The producer of “The Randy Economy Show”, Sylvia Southerland, describes the show as “unique, fact-driven and fast-paced.”

Economy plans to address the following topics on the show in the upcoming weeks: the murder of Joseph Gatto, father of California State Assemblyman Mike Gatto; the murder of Daniel Presbo, former mayor of Bell Gardens; and an interview with former Bell City Administrator Robert Rizzo, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for miss-use of public funds.

“He is very direct, honest and approachable. He is always enthusiastic and is always anxious to get the story right,” said Southerland. “Getting the story right was of utmost importance, it was paramount for Randy, and I really respect that.”

Economy is often seen wearing a black eye patch after suffering from a major stroke, which resulted in the complete loss of vision in his right eye. Economy, known as the “Political Pirate,” is using this image to be the face of his new and upcoming producing company, Eye Patch Productions.

Besides his involvement with radio show, Economy is still active on his personal investigative blog of nearly 15 years, covering news in LA County.

“You build a reputation for one story, then another story, and before you know it you have a portfolio of stories, cases and real life situations, and your phone just starts ringing,” Economy said.

To see more of Economy’s articles in the mentioned investigative series’, visit the La Mirada Lamplighter and Los Cerritos Community News.

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