For some journalists, being known as a specific type of reporter based on their race is something that they try to stray away from. But for Adolfo Flores, it’s something that he is proud of.
“Some people are scared as being pegged as the Latino reporter, but there was this one reporter I worked with and that I really respect who told me that it wasn’t a bad thing. That’s an asset. It’s something that you have that other people don’t,” Flores said.
Flores knew he wanted to be a writer since he was a kid, but didn’t know what kind of a writer he wanted to be until he wrote for his paper in high school. Through that experience, he decided that reporting was a path he wanted to take and he majored in journalism at Cal State University in Northridge. While there, he immediately got into reporting for the Latino community.
“My first experience after high school was writing for the Spanish paper and I wrote about the Latino Community. I wrote for the Spanish paper first before I wrote for the English paper,” Flores said.
After graduating, Flores’ resume grew as he started working for the Pasadena Star and covered areas that included Southern Pasadena, San Marino, Alhambra and San Gabriel, writing about police and city government news. After a year, he worked for a community paper that was under the L.A. Times before transitioning as a reporter for Los Angeles Times itself. He moved around different sections, covering business, crime, the Orange County and late night breaking news.
By the end of 2014, Flores found himself leaving the Times and working as a reporter for Buzzfeed, which is where he is now.
“Reporting wise, what I cover is different. Formatting would be different. Sometimes I’ll do a list about something which is kind of funny to me.But it’s still the same type of journalism that I was doing before,” Flores said.
Buzzfeed news editor Jason Wells has known Flores for about five years, and has definitely seen a growth in Flores as a journalist.
“He is much more confident in his reporting and has really developed his skill set in terms of getting information. His writing has also gotten a lot cleaner, but he’s not afraid to take chances and get creative, including in his story selection,” Wells said.
As a writer for Buzzfeed, Flores’ main focus is on immigration and Latino issues, with some of his most recent articles being about unaccompanied immigrant minors and El Chapo. His passion for covering such topics was one that he always had ever since he was in college.
“I had a really good professor who instilled the value and importance of covering my own community and where I come from and why it’s important for someone with a background like mine. I understand it in a way that other people wouldn’t,” Flores said.
L.A. Times reporter Kate Mather has worked with Flores while he was with the newspaper, and she thinks that while other reporters are capable of writing about issues within the Latino community, Flores is able to bring a powerful perspective because he is actually apart of it.
“He can identify deeper stories that other reporters might miss. He can make sure the coverage is fair and accurate, and free from surface- level stereotypes,” Mather said.
But regardless of what kind of story he wrote, Flores seemed to put the same amount of effort and thought into the work he was doing. Mather witnessed this firsthand while both she and Flores covered the 2014 Isla Vista shootings.
“I’ll never forget the afternoon we met with the parents of a woman who was killed in the Colorado theater massacre who were in Isla Vista to help the community. Somehow we landed an interview with them. Despite the hectic nature of that story- I think it was our third or fourth non- stop day there- I could tell Adolfo put serious thought into this particular interview. He knew not only the tough, emotional questions he wanted to ask, but how to lead the interview to that place to get those answers,” Mather said.
Now, as he continues his career, Flores hopes to be able to write bigger investigative stories that have the ability to “move policy or highlight something that hasn’t been noticed.”
But there’s one thing Flores wants to say he’s done in his career, and it’s something he’s come close to accomplishing with his collaborative story on the Isla Vista shootings.
“I want to win the Pulitzer. That would be nice.”