Capitol Weekly’s Top 100: Ashley Zavala

Illustration by Chris Shary, for Capitol Weekly

91. Ashley Zavala

One of three reporters on the list this year, Ashley Zavala of KCRA has rapidly built a reputation as what some of us call an “oh sh*t” reporter. Because as one staffer told me, if you see her in the hallways of the Capitol heading toward your door, your first thought is “oh sh*t.” Zavala has become that reporter, the one who doesn’t soft-pedal questions or shy away from tough subjects. She regularly breaks stories that put lawmakers on the spot, and it’s fair to say a lot of folks in the building don’t like her. But she is undoubtedly effective. She has famously butted heads with Assemblymembers Mia Bonta and Reggie Jones-Sawyer, the latter of whom once refused to speak to reporters if she was there, sparking a near mutiny among the scribes. Given her knack for political reporting, it might be surprising that Zavala’s first jobs out of the Columbia School of Journalism program were in sports. She previously covered the Capitol for Nexstar Media Group’s seven California channels, and is the president of the Capitol Correspondents Association of California.

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