El Vaq Alum Tim Traeger Shares Good News

Tim Traeger, a former El Vaquero editor-in-chief, has embraced the multimedia future as editor and publisher of the positive community news website 411whittier.com. As a high school student, Traeger wanted to pursue a career in medicine but hated calculus. He found his way into journalism, where he has spent the last 30 years.

In 1984, he became El Vaq editor in chief under faculty adviser J.G. Thomas, a man “dedicated to telling the truth,” Traeger said. “GCC was a great place to start,” he said.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal State Northridge and a master’s degree in leadership and management from University of La Verne. Traeger started working at the LA Daily News as a stringer, then worked as a sports editor for The Burbank Leader and as features editor for The Tahoe Daily News.

Four years later, after working his way up to managing editor, he broke the news that legendary entertainer and politician Sonny Bono had died while skiing at Heavenly Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe. He even appeared on Larry King Live.

“It was my 15 minutes of fame. My mom was SO proud,” he said.

Traeger returned in LA in 1999 and worked for two years as editor of the Highlander and Star weeklies published by the San Gabriel Valley Newsgroup. He became a contributor at Whittier Daily News and rose to managing editor in 2007. Today, he runs 411Whitter and works as a general assignment reporter for L.A. Times community news.

“I still have an incredible affinity for journalism and realize that there will always be a need for great writers and editors,” he said. “This career is what you make of it. The days were always wonderful and fulfilling because each was different.”