Thursday, May 30, 2002
Los Angeles Superior Court Hires Allan Parachini to Lead Information Office
By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer
Longtime newspaper reporter and former ACLU spokesman Allan Parachini has become public information director for the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Parachini, 56, said yesterday he would launch a full audit of the court’s communications functions and prepare a plan to improve the way the court makes information available to the public—and to reporters.
The veteran medical and arts reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times and Los Angeles Times developed a reputation as a staunch First Amendment rights advocate in his six years at the ACLU of Southern California. But he said he came with no agenda.
“I am not determined to throw everything in the department aside and start over,” he said. “That would be silly.”
He added that the court’s response to media queries already was “excellent,” but could stand some improvement in informing the public about how it operates.
Parachini becomes the top spokesman for the world’s largest trial court, which covers Los Angeles County and accounts for about a third of the criminal and civil cases brought in California. The court has more than 500 bench officers in more than 40 courthouses.
Parachini succeeds Jerrianne Hayslett, a former Pasadena Star-News city editor who beefed up the court’s media office and became a key resource for judges handling high-profile cases but sometimes battled with reporters. In the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial, which brought hundreds of photographers, television reporters and magazine and newspaper reporters to the Criminal Courts Building, Hayslett once likened journalists to “birds of prey ready to swoop down and snare anything and anyone that moves.”
A native of Philadelphia, Parachini graduated from the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University and began his career in journalism with United Press International in New York. One of his first UPI assignments was to cover Woodstock.
He worked as a medical reporter at the Sun-Times for five years, then came to Los Angeles where he covered health care and, later, the controversy over the National Endowment for the Arts. He said he developed extensive experience working with the Superior Court while investigating the litigation track records of doctors alleged to have committed malpractice or misconduct.
Parachini became director of public affairs for the ACLU of Southern California in 1991, then went in 1997 to the California Community Fund, where he was vice president of communications.
He joined Belin Communications last year, and said he did not intend to leave until Hayslett announced her retirement earlier this year.
“This was exactly the right position for my experience and interests,” Parachini said.
His salary is $105,000 a year.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company