Ron Olsen is a veteran cross-platform journalist based in Harford County, Maryland, United States.
Olsen attended the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN. He has studied vocal interpretation with Lilyan Wilder (NY) and Pat Fraley (LA).
Awards and accomplishments
Olsen, is the recipient of Emmy Awards for coverage of the Malibu Fire in 1993, the Northridge earthquake in 1994, best newscast over 35 minutes in length (Prime News-KTLA TV) in 2006 and a Peabody Award for KTLA's coverage of the Rodney King beating in 1991. In 2001, he was awarded first place for television hard news coverage from the Greater Los Angeles Press Club. Other honors include three "Golden Mike" awards from the Radio and Television News Association of Southern California, the 2001 award for spot news coverage from APTRA of California and Nevada, a Regional Edward R. Murrow Award for spot news coverage from the RTNDA in 1998 and two Sigma Delta Chi "Golden Quill" awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.
During the course of the Simpson trials, Olsen appeared as a guest on "Reliable Sources" on CNN, "This Week With David Brinkley" on ABC and on WGN Radio, Chicago. His coverage of the criminal trial featured analysis from authors Dominick Dunne, Joseph Bosco and Lawrence Schiller. Other credits include a guest spot on the Gloria Allred Show on the ABC Radio Network.
Other noteworthy stories Olsen has covered include: George McGovern running to re-gain his seat in the U.S. Senate after his losing bid for the Presidency in 1972, the return of the U.S. hostages from Iran to Andrews Air Force Base in 1981, sentencing of "Hillside Strangler" Angelo Buono in 1982, an exclusive first interview with John DeLorean following his acquittal on a charge of drug trafficking in cocaine in 1984, the release of "We Are The World" song to aid famine relief in Africa in 1985 and the execution of serial killer John Wayne Gacy in Joliet, Illinois, in 1994.
During his many years with KABC and KTLA in Hollywood, Olsen did numerous celebrity interviews and covered memorial services for a number of notables including Rita Hayworth, Sonny Bono and Marvin Gaye.
In 2002, Ron Olsen joined other California television news professionals in demanding more stringent rules governing the safety of news vans following an accident that critically injured reporter Adrienne Alpert. The demands were presented to Cal/OSHA, which eventually drew up the regulations.
Olsen got his start in broadcasting at student-run WMMR Radio (now "Radio K") at the University of Minnesota. Before his career in television and radio news, he worked in TV production at KSTP, Minneapolis/St. Paul. He then moved into broadcast journalism at KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, WBNS-TV, Columbus, Ohio, KDKA-TV and radio in Pittsburgh, PA, WMAR-TV in Baltimore, MD, KABC-TV and the ABC Radio Networks in Los Angeles, KHJ-TV (now KCAL-TV), Los Angeles and KTLA-TV, Los Angeles. At KDKA in Pittsburgh, Ron hosted the "Channel to Pittsburgh" talk show and the Group W public affairs show "Impact." At KTLA, he co-hosted the "Weekend Gallery" talk show.
Olsen joined the staff of KTLA in Los Angeles in 1987. While there he would wear several hats, working as a reporter/anchor and a talk show host. From May 2002 to 2009 Ron was at the Los Angeles Times, where he worked with the newspaper's staff adapting daily newspaper stories for television to be aired on KTLA-TV. Both the [Los Angeles Times] and KTLA are owned by the Tribune Company. Tribune acquired the Times Mirror Company, prior owner of the Los Angeles Times, for more than 8 billion dollars in 2000 and began a push for "synergy" between the print and broadcast properties. Tribune executives touted the purchase as giving Tribune a dual presence in the three largest media markets in America, owning both a TV station and a newspaper in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The move toward creating synergy was not without controversy. Faced by declining revenues as newspaper readership fell and advertisers increasingly moved their money into "new media," the Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2008. Olsen left Tribune and KTLA-TV in 2009.
Olsen is the author of more than one-thousand essays published on his blog, http://workingreporter.com/wordpress, most dealing with American politics and (or) the media. He also writes occasional poetry. His poems have been published on the motherbird.com and artvilla poetry websites as well as in the London-based Poetry Life and Times poetry journal.
Ron Olsen is a member of SAG/AFTRA, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Los Angeles Press Club. He served on the broadcast steering committee of AFTRA's Los Angeles Local prior to the SAG/AFTRA merger and has taken part in broadcast contract negotiations in Los Angeles and Baltimore.
Ron Olsen was among the first journalists to arrive at the Bundy murder scene and was KTLA's principal field reporter for coverage of the O.J. Simpson criminal and civil trials which continued for nearly three years. He followed Simpson in a news van during the famous "low-speed chase". KTLA's coverage of the Simpson criminal trial was broadcast internationally.
He also covered the Los Angeles riots. He was at LA police headquarters at Parker Center when the rioting started and later covered the federal trials of the four officers charged with beating Rodney King. The trial coverage was carried by the Tribune Company television stations.
A pioneer in the field of cross-platform journalism, Olsen took a desk at the Los Angeles Times in 2002, and spent more than six years working on product sharing between television, the newspaper and the Internet. In 2005, Olsen teamed up with Times columnist, Steve Lopez, to report on the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams at San Quentin State Prison. He maintains a website for journalists at http://workingreporter.com, and a blog at http://workingreporter.com/wordpress. For several years his writing appeared regularly in the Valley News Group Newspapers in Los Angeles.
Ron Olsen has volunteered his time to several charities including the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation and the World Children's Transplant Fund. He is a recipient of the "Celebration of Life" award from the World Children's Transplant Fund. Olsen is a member of Theta Tau Epsilon fraternity at Bemidji State University, Bemidji, MN. In 2004, he was named a "Distinguished Alumni" of the Paynesville Area Public Schools, in Paynesville, MN. After more than 30 years in Southern California, Olsen now lives in Maryland, where he writes essays, poetry and continues working on a book.