Dave Wielenga has been covering the Greater Long Beach since 1972, when he became a professional journalist at age 16 as a $2-an-hour copy boy in the sports department of the Long Beach Press-Telegram. Although he’s never really left home—well, not for very long, anyway—the influence of his work has.

During a 38-years-and-counting career, Wielenga’s prize-winning work has appeared across the country—in magazines ranging from Rolling Stone and Vibe to US Weekly and Modern Maturity and in newspapers from the Los Angeles Times to the Washington Post. He’s been recognized with awards for investigations, features, news, entertainment and sports from the Associated Press, Los Angeles Press Club, Orange County Press Club and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. And when Wielenga did leave town—the country, in fact, moving to Mexico for four years in the middle of this decade—the university students of Tecnologico de Monterrey in Mazatlan voted him Teacher of the Year. Just sayin’.

Wielenga spent 23 years at the Press-Telegram, at age19 earning the Associated Press Sports Story of the Year award for his first-person account of running the Boston Marathon. He went on to cover most of the major beats in sports—as well as high schools, Rose Bowls, Super Bowls and two Olympics Games—then moving through features, entertainment, news and investigations before taking a buyout when the paper slashed its staff in 1995.

From there, Wielenga served on the staffs of two so-called “alternative” weeklies—New Times Los Angeles and OC Weekly.

At New Times, his contributions included exposing a new type of pay-for-play at Los Angeles public radio giant KCRW-FM; revealing how sending Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight to prison helped a hypocritical record industry get to his profits; and stripping the sentiment from Los Angeles Dodgers history to show that Dodger Blue has always been about the Long Green.

But it was at OC Weekly where Wielenga truly blossomed as an investigative reporter. A series of stories about Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo ended with Garofalo resigning from office and convicted of a felony. His reports on substandard sewage treatment led to Orange County finally committing to the terms of the 1972 Clean Water Act.

After those years in Mexico, Wielenga returned to Long Beach in 2007 to help found The District Weekly. His investigations of city government and his reflections on city life quickly attracted a readership that gave the fledgling publication instant relevance and influence.

When The District Weekly died in March 2010, Dave Wielenga was Redistricted!


%d bloggers like this: