I started with NBC4 in 1986 and am now the chief political reporter for the station as well as anchor of 'News Conference,' the longest running political/public affairs program in Southern California. I report on the NBC4 News at 11 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. As NBC4's political reporter, I've covered national, state and local politics. I've seen a lot, but one story I'll never forget was the O.J. Simpson murder case. The world watched police pursue Simpson. I – on the other hand – got in front of the infamous white Bronco. In NBCLA's new series, "I Was There When…," our anchors and reporters take you behind the scenes of some of the craziest stories to have rocked Southern California and beyond – including the chase seen 'round the world.

You can binge the series (including my episode) exclusively on NBCLA's app on Roku, Fire TV and Apple TV. You can find me @conannbcla or @nbcla.

PROOF: https://i.redd.it/7n16mses9xx81.jpg

We're done. Thanks for your questions. It's a privilege to work here and to work in this city.

Comments: 74 • Responses: 18  • Date: 

Interesting_Term_22123 karma

What was going through your head when you were on the freeway during the Bronco chase?

nbcla27 karma

Earlier, Robert Kardashian (his friend) had read a note from O.J. Simpson that sounded like he was in a position mentally to take his own life. When I heard he was in the backseat of the Bronco with a gun, I was afraid that if he saw us, he would use it on himself. I elaborate on it in the "I Was There When..." series.

NotEven-Punk21 karma

What is your favorite type of soup?

nbcla35 karma

Clam chowder. You?

buthomeisnowhere16 karma

Best Pastrami in LA?

I'm partial to Langer's if nothing else but for the pastrami chili cheese fries.

Edit: Punctuation

nbcla32 karma

Langer's it is. But if push comes to shove, I go for the French Dip at Philippe's.

docbugzy14 karma

Do you think the Mayor of LA (whomever it ends up being) will ever be able to pull an effective homelessness plan together? Or will the future remain haphazard district-by-district approaches without much coordination?

nbcla45 karma

It's highly unlikely that the Mayor of LA can single-handedly solve homelessness. The city of LA represents just 40% of the county of Los Angeles, which is governed by over 80 municipalities and the board of supervisors. The issues that relate to homelessness are controlled by the state legislature. So the best they can do is to bring others together, but that will take a herculean effort. My fear is what we are seeing is the new normal.

whenyoucantthinkof11 karma

When did homelessness and crime in Los Angeles reach its high and its low?

nbcla41 karma

They're two different issues. Crime was rampant in the late 80s and early 90s. There were weekends we posted more deaths than the civil war in Lebanon. There was open warfare between rival gangs, and the crack cocaine epidemic was at its height.

Homelessness has never been worse. You're living through the worst homeless crisis which is why it's the primary issue in the race for mayor of Los Angeles.

Eroom201310 karma

Any gruesome murders, or serial killers you covered that never gained national attention?

nbcla33 karma

Bill Suff. He worked for the county of Riverside, and once in a county employee newsletter, he offered his van for carpooling. It's the same van he used for raping and murdering 12 or more women in Riverside County between 1989 and 1991. He was even responsible as a county employee for providing the furniture and type writers for the task force that had been set up to find him. He's currently incarcerated.

Inigogoboots9 karma

Dear Conan Nolan, what are your thoughts on how the Fairness Doctrine being repealed in 1987 and how it has impacted Media and Government?

nbcla34 karma

Prior to the repeal, the public had only a certain number of sources from which they could get their information. The Fairness Doctrine was designed to ensure all opinions were heard. We now live in a world where the media has been democratized. There are so many different sources of information. The Fairness Doctrine would only apply to broadcasters and would be of little use. The problem is that media, which is a derivation of the word mediate, is no longer able to focus attention on that which is fundamentally true. We never gave any time, for example, to people who thought the world was flat. But now because of the internet there are now millions who are able to share misinformation that we thought we had escaped from years ago. It's a remarkable and unsettling turn of events.

kimnicolascoppola9 karma

Did you cover the Golden state killer?

nbcla27 karma

I did. And I remember when he was called the East Area Rapist up in Sacramento. I was working in the State Legislature at the beginning of his criminal behavior. Words can't describe just how frightful people were in that community. And then he just sort of went away. His case did indicate the potential disconnect between law enforcement agencies in various parts of the state, and their ability to communicate with each other about similar criminal behavior. He'd still be on the loose if it weren't for DNA from a genealogy site.

from-Sir-to-Sir8 karma

What's your thoughts on social media publishing people's thoughts and not being held accountable to journalism fact checking?

nbcla46 karma

People have the right to say what they want to say and "fact checking" is itself a moving target. It was a fact at one point in history that earth was the center of the universe and the sun revolved around us. Anyone that said contrary was a heretic. The important thing is to teach critical thinking and media literacy.

from-Sir-to-Sir8 karma

Do todays newsrooms provide journalists the financial backing to chase and break big stories about corruption or other hidden truths?

nbcla29 karma

We do here at NBC4. It's an investment because we've decided that good investigative work differentiates us from competitors. There's plenty of places to get the news, but there's only one place to get people like Eric Leonard, Randy Mac or Joel Grover. In fact, we have one of the largest investigative units of any local television station in America.

from-Sir-to-Sir6 karma

What is the single biggest cause of so much misinformation being posted as facts in your career?

nbcla33 karma

My father went through the Great Depression and served as an officer in WWII. He also served in the Department of State. He was a part of the Greatest Generation. If he were alive today he would be shocked, stunned, and depressed beyond measure that so many Americans believe in QAnon -- that they have lost all semblance of critical thought, and believe that these vast conspiracies are run by the government. So if there's anything that is the most concerning is that millions of people believe things that are completely, utterly, and objectionably untrue.

UnilateralWithdrawal5 karma

Have TMZ and other celebrity shows changed the news business? If so, how?

nbcla24 karma

TMZ changed the paparazzi business because they gave away their photographs for free and they paid people, such as valet attendants, money to tip them off on celebrity sightings. And yes it changed journalism in respect to the amount of information they were able to achieve by having sources on retainers -- something we don't do. Harvey Levin used to work for NBC4. He's a very bright guy and terribly successful. I heard a rumor once that he wanted to start a TMZ for Washington D.C.

whenyoucantthinkof5 karma

When, in modern times, have you seen the least amount of homelessness?

nbcla20 karma

Homelessness has been around for a long time. Skid Row is over a century old. It has always been present, but never have we seen so much of the public right of way taken over for homeless encampments as we do today. So I would say the homelessness was far less of a problem in the 70s, 80s and 90s. It was also much easier to afford rent then as well.

Suspicious_Mirror5942 karma

What is the biggest/most memorable corruption case that you or NBC4 uncovered?

nbcla18 karma

There have been a lot. Perhaps the scandal in the Rampart division of the LAPD where members of what was called the CRASH unit used "Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums," planted evidence, stole from evidence lockers, and unlawfully targeted alleged gang members resulting in a federal oversight of the LAPD that lasted over a decade and changed the face of policing in Los Angeles. This was in the late 90s.

Suspicious_Mirror5948 karma

I'm sorry if this is too personal, but are you ever afraid of retaliation when reporting on powerful or dangerous people? Also thank you for the AmA!! I am a huge fan of local investigative journalism!

nbcla21 karma

Thank you for watching. We really appreciate it.

I have reported from Iraq, Beirut and Pakistan, but my biggest concern about my personal safety is reporting in the streets of Los Angeles due to the number of people in need of mental health assistance. The governor has advocated for a program that would allow family members to get help to those in need. Right now under California law, the only way you can intercede in the life of someone severely mentally ill is if they present a threat to themselves or someone else. It's a worthy debate that the status quo needs to change.

maveric292 karma

What do you think about shows like "the wire" and most recently "we own this town"? I believe they were written by journalists. I moved to LA from the east coast and spent a lot of time in Baltimore.

nbcla11 karma

Haven't seen either of those shows, but there's a long history of screenwriting in Hollywood by people who once practiced the journalistic arts. Michael Connelly, for example, used his experience as a crime reporter for the LA Times to create the character Bosch on HBO. Journalism is storytelling, where they frequently incorporate real-life drama. If you think about it, it's a pretty good education for somebody that wants to write for the stage and screen.

maveric291 karma

The wire is David Simon and the other is Justin Fenton both produced by Ed burns for HBO. Really captures the reality of Baltimore for TV. I didn't know Connelly was originally a journalist, I have to read his books but my first exposure was the TV show.

The story telling point makes sense, my first real exposure, for better or worse, was hunter s. Thompson and "gonzo journalism" I'd also love to hear your thoughts along those lines.

nbcla6 karma

"Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, 1972" was one of my favorite books on politics. Made me want to get into this business.

wehotex11 karma

Did you track the filming of the Bronco on that Friday all the way back to the Rockingham estate?

nbcla1 karma

Close. We peeled off just before he took the offramp to Rockingham. Two cars collided in front of us and I narrowly avoided them (was driving at the time). Felt it was best to get out of the way then to end up being part of the story if we some how ended up in a collision with the Bronco or any other cars on the freeway.