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KCET To Celebrate Retiring Val Zavala’s Legacy With Special Tribute Edition Of ‘SoCal Connected’

Val Zavala

Posted: Monday, February 12, 2018 – 1:34 PM

TV station KCET announced earlier this month that multi-Emmy-winning journalist Val Zavala, who’s been part of the SoCal media landscape for three decades, is retiring at the end of the month. Her legacy will be recognized in a special tribute episode of Socal Connected called “30 Years With Val Zavala at 8 p.m., Tues., Feb. 13  with an encore at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 14 on KCET .

Hosted by KNBC’s Fritz Coleman, the half-hour retrospective features numerous special guests, among them L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, filmmaker John Ridley, KPCC’s Larry Mantle, KCRW’s Saul Gonzalez and Warren Olney, who recall Zavala’s role in covering some of the region’s most critical events and key influencers. During the episode, Zavala weighs in on moments that helped define her career with flagship series such as Socal Connected, Town Hall Los Angeles and Life & Times.

Tomorrow morning, the Los Angeles City Council will hold a special presentation to honor Zavala for her important role and journalistic leadership in highlighting the uniquely Los Angeles stories by declaring Val Zavala Day in L.A. A short preview of “30 Years With Val Zavalawill be presented at the opening of the morning’s City Council meeting by LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz.

With her retirement coinciding with Valentine’s Day, viewers can show Zavala their love by participating in a special “Val-entines” online campaign and submit messages expressing how she has touched their lives. One winner will be randomly selected from the online submissions and invited with a guest to attend a private event at KCET’s Burbank Studios in February honoring Zavala.

“Val Zavala is a true Southern California treasure,” says Juan Devis, chief creative officer of KCETLink, who has worked with Zavala for more than a decade. “”In her 30 years as a journalist covering our region, she has shaped a legacy defined by truth and integrity, and built legions of devoted fans along the way by putting community first.She has imbued the station with her personal warmth and unwavering professionalism. While we will miss her, I am certain that Val’s work will live on in the hearts and minds of both colleagues and KCET viewers alike, and we hope she will continue to contribute her unique perspectives and incredible news expertise on special projects as the station moves forward,” Devis said.

Having also served as VPof News & Public Affairs for KCET, Zavala’s most recognized role at the station over the past decade is as the anchor (and also as executive producer from 2014 to 2017) of KCET’s award-winning local news magazine SoCal Connected which debuted in 2008. The series has garnered dozens of regional and national honors, including 27 LA area Emmy awards, the George Foster Peabody award, two Alfred I. duPont Columbia Silver Batons, 51 LA Press Club Awards, two Gracie Awards, as well as four regional and one national Edward R. Murrow Awards and Los Angeles Magazine‘s “Best New Local TV Program” of 2009.

Additionally, Zavala was a reporter, executive producer (2004-2008) and anchor of KCET’s award-winning weekday news program Life & Times as well as other news and public affairs specials, including Bracing for a Quake: A Survival Guide and the Emmy-nominated The Edible Garden: Breaking Ground. She has hosted a variety of news and public affairs programs over the years, including the station’s visionary speaker series Town Hall Los Angeles, now in its second season.

The recent recipient of a prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for her explanations of California’s ballot measures, Zavala has earned 18 L.A. Area Emmy Awards and eight Golden Mikes. As an active community leader, Zavala was honored by Hispanic Americans for Fairness in Media and named one of the 100 most influential Latinos by Hispanic Business magazine. She serves on the board of Alzheimer’s Greater Los Angeles and is a regent for Mount Saint Mary’s University.

Before joining KCETLink in 1987, Zavala spent six years reporting at commercial news stations. Over her 30 years in television journalism, she has covered major issues impacting Southern California in the areas of politics, education, healthcare, environment, demographics, economics, arts and culture. Zavala attended Stanford University in 1992 on a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship. She received her master’s in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. and her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Yale University.

The special edition 30 Years With Val Zavala” is produced by Kat Keeney and Linda Burns. Executive Producer for SoCal Connected is Karen Foshay.

The episode will also be available online along with additional features at http://www.kcet.org/socalconnected ]kcet.org/socalconnected.

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