Thursday, May 01, 2008 5:31 PM
By Theresa Adams
NBC 4’s Ana Garcia, a top anchor and investigative journalist, will be honored at the Southern California Journalism Awards this year with the coveted Joseph M. Quinn Award for lifetime achievement.
Garcia will receive the award at the 50th anniversary gala of the awards at on Saturday, June 21, at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
“Ana is not only one of the Southland’s top anchors, but a top investigative reporter as well,” says Chris Woodyard of USA Today, the club’s president. “She throws herself into her work, yet still finds time to balance her life with philanthropy and family time. No one is more qualified for the club’s top award.”
Last year’s Quinn winner was Judy Woodruff of PBS. Past honorees have included Dan Rather, Patt Morrison, Ted Koppel and Walter Cronkite.
Garcia’s investigations have rocked government and industry alike. She revealed some of the things that go on when lawmakers and law-breakers think no one is looking. Her first love is reporting.
“It is the absolute thing that makes me passionate about what I do,” Ana said of her investigative assignments. “I have the best job in the world. I am really happy. I am in a great place. I remember that every morning. It makes me humble.”
Her undercover series on fraudulent practices in the tow-truck industry, “Tow Truck Pirates,” resulted in changes in both federal and state regulations. The changes were aimed at protecting consumers from renegade tow truck operators.
Her investigative report on Los Angeles County’s failure to properly dispose of public records resulted in a change in county law for the first time in 50 years.
And Garcia’s dedication was reflected in a report on a quiet Los Angeles neighborhood where women from foreign countries come here to live for the sole purpose of giving birth to a child in the United States, so the child will automatically become a U.S. citizen.
“She is passionate about her work,” says NBC 4 Investigative News Producer Fred Mamoun, a Press Club director. “She truly believes in helping people.”
Garcia says she’s a big believer in hidden camera reports.
“If we can capture it with a hidden camera and we can show you what the problem is, then maybe we can fix the problem or maybe the lawmakers can,” Garcia says in a promotional video. “I mean that is the amazing thing. Until you capture it with those hidden cameras people really don’t believe you.”
Her unit works long hours to put together the special reports. It is very important to this award-winning investigative reporter that the public is not deceived.
“She brings so much credibility to the broadcast. When I see her fronting a story I believe it,” says KCAL 9 anchorwoman, Pat Harvey, a past Quinn winner herself.
The passion and dedication Ana has for her work is also reflected in her role as a parent and in her charity work with The Good News Foundation, an organization that joins news professionals from NBC 4, ABC 7, KCAL 9 and Fox 11.
It is a cause that makes Garcia proud.
“These are the most amazing women. I have such respect for all of them,” she says. “We all get criticized for always reporting bad news so we are trying to bring good news, a little bit at a time.”
A graduate of St. Johns University in New York, Garcia says working with the women has made her think even more about the good things they can do. She says to give something to children who have so little but who are trying so hard is a wonderful feeling.
Garcia, has received an Emmy, several Golden Mike and Edward R. Murrow Awards, an Associated Press Award for Best Investigative Series in California and previous Los Angeles Press Club awards for outstanding investigative work.