Beau Yarbrough, who once was just an army brat, is now recognized for being one of the top investigative reporters in the Inland Empire. He found a passion for writing at an early age and did not stop chasing his dream to one day become a journalist. With many years of experience under his belt, Yarbrough landed the job as an educational and political reporter.
“I realized I loved journalism after taking my first TV broadcast class,” Yarbrough said. “I got really addicted being able to be in places I shouldn’t have.”
Yarbrough graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1992 and now works for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.
“Being an army brat growing up was great,” Yarbrough said. “You learn how to talk to people because you have no choice and you are aware of that one persons world view.”
Yarbrough focuses on the corruption of the education system and political accountability. In 2014 Yarbrough discovered corruption in the Rialto Unified School District where he received the First Amendment award, best coverage of a local news story, and journalist of the year.
“I like doing feature writing, but along the way I started to discover that I could make a difference,” Yarbrough said. “I can literally point to classrooms in the Inland Empire where their lives are different because I worked on the story and nobody else caught it.”
Yarbrough investigated the Rialto Unified School District when it was brought to his attention by a students grandmother that a third grade teacher was not acting appropriately in the classroom.
“He would say kids are stupid to be in third grade, he would call third grade girls sluts,” Yarbrough said. “This was a horrible terrifying bully.”
“I made a big email blast for who was now the award winning recipient in the office,” Assistant to the vice president and advertising general manager Chris Burt said. “He is really interesting, has a fabulous background, and used a lot of hard work and hound dogging for these stories.”
In addition to education, Yarbrough covers politics and crime. On Dec. 2, 2015 when the San Bernardino attack happened by terrorists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, Yarbrough and staff were front and center ready to report.
“Shooting at a holiday party is not what you would think is a terrorist event,” Yarbrough said. “Everybody dropped everything and we all pulled together the moment we realized this was happening.”
Yarbrough was sent to the home of Farook and Malik where he found the scene to be a bit odd. Law enforcement officers are usually regulating the flow of people going in and out of investigative scenes like this one.
“When I got there, I saw no cops and it was a madhouse,” Yarbrough said. “I was uncomfortable and frustrated because their were non journalists there, kids running around, and even dogs.”
Yarbrough left the scene knowing what grocery store the terrorists shopped at and the Islamic center they belonged to. For two weeks he and the staff only had one day off and 20 hours of over time.
“In San Bernardino we felt we had the responsibility to tell the community what was going on because they were petrified,” Yarbough said. “In other professions their responsibility is their company or their boss, but as a journalist you feel responsible for your audience primarily and secondarily your publication.”
Yarbrough and two others had the opportunity to hear the confessions of the first respondents the day of the attack. The three compiled an article that focuses on the emotions of what these individuals felt first hand.
“Beau is extremely intelligent, easy to work with, and has institutional knowledge about the Inland area,” Reporter for The Sun Newspaper Michel Nolan said. “He is an asset to our staff.”
Yarbrough is passionate about local news and making a difference in the community. He likes to read about national news, but strongly believes that local news is what gets people engaged in conversation.
“I am a big believer in local news,” Yarbrough said. ” I know more about education and politics now then I ever thought I would.”