What is this?

Journalists don’t know things. They know people who knows things. Sort of. This industry has been mutating and dying even before the pandemic. In Los Angeles, publications have shuttered and downsized. Editors are held hostage by Twitter’s insane algorithm. They only want divisive content. Supporting local, independent reporting is more important than ever. Aside from having a mental defect where I can’t stop writing, that’s why I’m doing this. Most journalism doesn’t produce live copy anymore. Objective journalism was never real. The goal here is to write from a point of view and become a voice readers trust. I got my start on the East Coast at an alternative weekly, then worked as a beat reporter covering towns and crime for daily newspapers. Recently, I covered legal happenings throughout California. My stories have also appeared in Vice, Daily Beast, KCRW, the Ringer, Outline (RIP). After doing this for over a decade, I felt like I was finally getting somewhere, but then ***gestures broadly at current dumpster fire***. I’ve always been deeply interested in what journalists do. But I left my job in order to have more freedom and to cover local government. Here, you can get information that isn’t being influenced by editors, advertising, or helicoptering public relations flacks. Just my terrified brain on a constant deadline.

My elevator pitch:

The Debaser, which is not a newsletter, will mostly be a clearinghouse for reporting on power structures in Los Angeles. It might also just become a deep dive of City Attorney Mike Feuer, the serious professional who plans to run for mayor, while also wrapped up in the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power debacle. I broke the DWP water corruption story at the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and it got the attention of the FBI. I will continue to cover it here. It’s a ridiculous story. One time I walked up to an attorney involved with the case just to introduce myself, and he straight up ran away from me. It was one of the funniest moments of my life. 

I will also write culture stories, fiction, satire, music and book criticism. A vibe will be maintained. Donald Trump and Covid will not be written about. Just some primitive, guerrilla journalism. I promise to keep you informed, depressed (without ads!) and occasionally lol-ing as we do a tour through LA’s final stage. And it’s free! But I will also definitely take your money.

Praise for The Debaser:

“It’s trash” - LA Daily Journal

“Subversive.” - Richard Schlamper

“Lol!” - a reader

“His attitude problem is going to cost him a lot of money some day.” - Tim O’Brien

“A nice guy.” - some lawyer


Justin Kloczko
I'm an investigative journalist covering culture, politics & law. My stuff has appeared in Vice, Daily Beast, the Ringer, Outline, and in daily newspapers on both coasts. kloczkoj@gmail.com