The Orange County Register's Norberto Santana Jr. drove his green jeep (loaded with boxes and boxes of files) out of his paper's Grand Avenue HQ parking lot for the last time minutes ago. The veteran investigative journalist tells me that he's decided to leave the Register after a five-year-stint that included dozens of impressive scoops.
"I'm leaving on a good footing with them," said Santana, who began his 14 years ago as a Washington, D.C. correspondent with Congressional Quarterly. "It's a challenge for all of us in journalism but I've got a new opportunity that I'm really excited about and I'm looking forward to sharing that later."
Santana's departure (which is apparently effective immediately) means that Orange County's largest daily newspaper has lost two of its best talents. Translation to the public: the ability of our local journalism community to deliver key news stories about corruption just suffered a serious blow.
Earlier today, my colleague Nick Schou reported that John Gittelsohn is leaving the Register at the end of June. Gittelsohn, who has done outstanding government and business reporting during his career, will join Bloomberg News in New York City.
Best wishes to both Gittelsohn and Santana.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly