Ricardo Lopez, who has been a star political reporter for Minnesota’s Star Tribune for nearly three years, will be joining Variety as an entertainment journalist focused on the film business.
Lopez will soon be moving to Los Angeles to start his new job as a film reporter on May 22.
“This is a journalist who is a tenacious, highly skilled digger, reporter and writer and I have no doubts that he will make his mark in entertainment coverage in no time,” says Variety co-editor-in-chief Claudia Eller, to whom Lopez will report.
At the Star Tribune, he covered the state budget and education politics, specializing in impactful, in-depth accountability journalism. He was most recently promoted to lead coverage of Gov. Mark Dayton and his administration, one of the paper’s most important beats.
His work was nominated for an Editor’s Award for beat reporting. Among those stories was one showing the influence of a major political donor in the killing of a payday-lending reform bill.
Lopez developed a track record covering a highly-competitive beat of regular scoops, deeply-reported breaking news stories and thoughtful enterprise features.
In his first legislative session in 2015, he quickly earned the trust of sources that took him inside Senate Democrats’ coup attempt against their majority leader and tensions between him and the governor, a member of his own party. Lopez also covered the Republican National Convention from Cleveland last summer.
Lopez joins Variety’s strong team of film and media writers and editors both in Los Angeles and New York, including Ramin Setoodeh, Brent Lang, Justin Kroll, Dave McNary and investigative reporter Gene Maddaus.
“I am thrilled to be joining Variety at a time of great upheaval in the film industry because of technological disruptions, a push for more diverse representation throughout Hollywood and the strange political backdrop that will impact even Hollywood,” Lopez said. “I look forward to contributing to the stellar work by Variety.”
Prior to his time at the Star Tribune, Lopez worked at the Los Angeles Times from June 2011 to June 2014, initially as a Metro reporting intern and reporter trainee on the national desk and in the city-county government bureau. He was then promoted to a business reporter covering the California economy beat and agriculture.
He cut his teeth writing for newspapers such as The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.; The Tico Times, San Jose, Costa Rica; The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, Va.; and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Lopez graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2011 from the University of Nevada, Reno, Honors Program with a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish.