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Rediscovering the L.A. Times’ investigative reporting from 2021

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Most, if not all, good journalism borrows from the basic principles of investigative reporting. A healthy skepticism, an unwillingness to take claims at face value and a devotion to dig for the truth can be as important to producing feature profiles as they are to uncovering corruption and wrongdoing.

Last year, Los Angeles Times journalists demonstrated their commitment to truth-telling in tens of thousands of stories, graphics, photographs, videos, podcasts, social media posts and other types of content.

We documented the deadly toll of extreme heat and how California has failed to address the growing threat. We revealed the leniency of the state’s medical board in dealing with doctors who commit sexual misconduct or are repeatedly accused of gross negligence and incompetence. We uncovered scandals at some of our region’s most important and powerful institutions.

Some of this work was done by dedicated investigative reporters. But much of it was produced by Times journalists who, on a daily basis, cover law enforcement, education, business, sports, entertainment and other crucial beats. Their dedication to accountability reporting inspired countless stories, ranging from breaking news to features to hard-hitting investigations. Here is a small sample of the investigative reporting we published in 2021. Please support our work by subscribing today.

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The true toll of heat

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Negligent doctors

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Golden Globes

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Extremism in Orange County

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Watching law enforcement

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‘Real Housewives’

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Fighter jets

An F-15C air-to-air combat jet was placed on alert in case of unrest over the pandemic or election, sources and records say. The Guard denies it.

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Orange County oil spill

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Cheetos

Richard Montañez has for years told a story of how he dreamed up Flamin’ Hot Cheetos while working as a Frito-Lay janitor. The archival record, former employees and Frito-Lay itself say otherwise.

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California’s recall election

Conservative activists pressure election officials to drop people from voting rolls, claiming it invites massive ballot fraud in California.

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‘Rust’

Interviews with multiple members of the “Rust” crew paint an hour- by-hour picture of a cascade of bad decisions that created a chaotic set on which a lead bullet was put into a prop gun.

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Forced out

Some of the country’s largest recent highway expansions have inflicted another round of displacement in largely Black and Latino communities.

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CBS

A Times review of court filings, internal communications and interviews with two dozen current and former CBS television station employees found that many were troubled by the outcome of the investigation and questioned the company’s commitment to cleaning up its culture.

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Education

A Los Angeles Times analysis of data offers an alarming assessment of the impact of the pandemic on L.A. students.

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USC scandals

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Allegations of misconduct and harassment

Produced by Agnus Dei Farrant.

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