KCET’s Val Zavala to Retire After 30 Years; Special SOCAL CONNECTED Episode Celebrating Her Distinguished Career Airs Feb. 13


Allison Gray


Upcoming “Val-entines” Campaign Offers the Public a Chance to Share Memories of the Acclaimed and Beloved Journalist

                                                     February 13th Declared Val Zavala Day in the City of Los Angeles

val press release



Burbank, Calif. – Jan. 17, 2018 – Independent public television station KCET announced today that multi-Emmy® award-winning journalist Val Zavala, whose presence has been an integral part of the Southern California media landscape for three decades, is retiring at the end of the month.  Her legacy as a news anchor/producer, Latina role model, and an award-winning journalist deeply involved in the community she covers will be recognized in a special tribute episode of SOCAL CONNECTED called “30 Years With Val Zavala” on Tues., Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. on KCET in Southern California and will encore on Wed., Feb 14 at 7:30 p.m.

The half-hour retrospective features numerous special guests, among them Los Angeles 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 of our time. 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.

On the morning of February 13th, the Los Angeles City Council will hold a special presentation to honor Val Zavala for her important role and journalistic leadership in highlighting the uniquely Los Angeles stories by declaring Val Zavala Day in Los Angeles.  A short preview of “30 Years With Val Zavala” will be presented at the opening of that 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 lucky 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 over 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,” Devis said. “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.”

Having also served as Vice President of 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. Zavala is an active community leader; she 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.

Prior to 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 Masters in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C. and her B.A. in Latin American Studies from Yale University.

“A Special Edition of SoCal Connected: 30 Years With Val Zavala” is produced by Kat Keeney and Linda Burns.  The Executive Producer for SOCAL CONNECTED is Karen Foshay. The episode will also be available online along with additional features at kcet.org/socalconnected

Join the conversation on social media using #SoCalConnected and #ValZavala



SOCAL CONNECTED, winner of a Peabody®, two duPont Awards, 27 Emmy® Awards, 22 Golden Mikes, 51 LA Press Club Awards, two Gracie Awards, as well as four regional and one national Edward R. Murrow Awards, including Best News Documentary and Los Angeles Magazine's "Best New Local TV Program" of 2009, is a weekly local news series that airs exclusively on KCET. For more information, to view episodes online or to leave comments, please visit http://www.socalconnected.org. SOCAL CONNECTED is made possible in part by The Ahmanson Foundation.



On-air, online and in the community, KCET plays a vital role in the cultural and educational enrichment of Southern and Central California. KCET offers a wide range of award-winning local programming as well as the finest public television programs from around the world. Throughout its 53-year history, KCET has won hundreds of major awards for its local and regional news and public affairs programming, its national drama and documentary productions, its quality educational family and children's programs, its outreach and community services and its website, kcet.org. KCET is a donor-supported community institution. For additional information about KCET productions, web-exclusive content, programming schedules and community events, please visit kcet.org. KCET is a part of the KCETLink Media Group. Select original programming from KCET is also available for streaming on Apple TV and Roku platforms.


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