OC Journalism Loses Reporter, At Least Temporarily

It's a sad fact that Orange County serves as home to numerous shills pretending to be journalists, but we've also been blessed with excellent reporters who've served their time here before graduating to the national and international stage. To name a few: Dexter Filkins, who has won acclaim for his fearless Iraq War coverage in the New York Times, and best-selling author J.R. Moehringer.

The next rising star might be The Orange County Register's Peggy Lowe, who has made often cynical and bitchy fellow journalists openly envious of her work on the Sheriff Mike Carona corruption scandal, coverage of the county's Board of Supervisors and, my favorite, the dissection of county Treasurer Chriss Street, who—as a private court trustee for a bankrupt company—used the business' money for his own European vacation and Botox treatments. At the Denver Post before her Register gig, she was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the Columbine High School shootings.

Lowe's last day at her Register post is tomorrow. Earlier this year, she won a prestigious Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. (You might recognize the name Wallace as belonging to Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes fame.) For nine months beginning in September, Lowe will hone her already-fine skills on this topic: the intersection of politics with civil and criminal law.

Here's the bad news for OC residents and the local journalism community: While Reg bosses have promised to give Lowe her job back after she completes the fellowship, there's no guarantee she'll return at all. Will a wise media giant snatch her away?

-- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly


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