Lara Cooper

Data Journalist and Editor

Santa Barbara, California

Lara Cooper


Even With Obamacare, 29 Million People Are Uninsured: Here’s Why

An estimated 20 million people have gained insurance since health care reform was signed into law in 2010, but in the six years since, a significant group of Americans remain uninsured. Estimates vary, but as many as 29 million Americans – about one in 10 – lack coverage. Why is that? One of the biggest factors is cost, which still hinders many Americans from purchasing insurance.
The Fiscal Times Link to Story

Does Your State Allow People Under 21 to Drink?

The law is well-established and well-known - those wanting to legally drink alcohol in the United States have to be 21. But whether that answer is explicitly true might vary, depending on the state you're in.
San Jose Mercury News Link to Story

In Struggle Stay Clean, Young Mother Battles Heroin Addiction

Lizette Correa begins each day like any young mother.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Cleanup Under Way for Large Oil Spill Near Refugio State Beach

About 5,000 gallons of oil were removed from the ocean and beach by Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after officials responded to a major oil spill that occurred midday Tuesday when a pipeline ruptured near Refugio State Beach. The break in the 24-inch line owned by Plains All American Pipeline sent thousands of gallons of crude onto the shoreline and into the waters along the Santa Barbara County coast.
Noozhawk Link to Story

After Life on Street, Sobriety Suits Drug Court Grad

A tiny bottle of whiskey sits on the light switch near Joel Escarcega’s front door, a reminder of what stands between home and life on the streets, life and death, order and chaos. The 60-year-old has been sober for three years since moving into the Faulding Hotel on East Haley Street in downtown Santa Barbara.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Families Recall Three Young Lives Lost in Crash

Cheryl Outlaw recalled watching the front door of her Torrance home last April, waiting for her 17-year-old daughter, Danielle Murillo, to come home. Danielle and her boyfriend, 20-year-old Erick August, had traveled north for a concert the night before with Danielle's best friend, Jessica Leffew, 17, and Leffew's boyfriend, Brian Lopez, 20.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Company Behind Refugio Oil Spill Has Spotty Safety Record

The company that operates the pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of crude oil onto the southern Santa Barbara County coastline this week has a spotty safety record, according to federal data. Plains All American Pipeline LP has been in trouble in the past for corrosion of its pipelines, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which oversees regulation of the nation's 2.6 million miles of pipeline.
Noozhawk Link to Story

In Solemn Ceremony, Duo Carries Out Sacred Burials at Sea

Boats bobbed quietly in the shelter of the harbor and tourists on beach cruisers ambled past the waterfront. No one seemed to notice when Jennifer Parks and Billy Guntle, dressed all in black, stepped onto the dock, carrying between them a blue ice chest, the weight of which caused them to hunch over as they approached their destination.
Noozhawk Link to Story

News-Press’ Use of ‘Illegals’ in Headline Sparks Downtown Protest

An estimated 200 people converged on De la Guerra Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara on Thursday night to protest a recent headline in the Santa Barbara News-Press that referred to undocumented immigrants as "Illegals." The demonstrators, who gathered outside the newspaper's iconic building, also stopped traffic on State Street as they marched, chanting slogans such as "News-Press, you're a mess" and "Undocumented, unafraid" in response to the headline.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Sea Lion Pups Coming Ashore in Record Numbers

Researchers are discovering that an extraordinarily high number of sea lion pups have come ashore along the California coast this winter, and are malnourished for reasons that are still being studied. On Wednesday, officials from the NOAA Fisheries briefed reporters on the increase in sea lion strandings, including those in Santa Barbara County.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Sentencing Explosive Ending to First Human Trafficking Trial

A dramatic sentencing unfolded in Santa Barbara County Superior Court on Friday, ending the first human-trafficking case ever to be brought to trial in the county. The court heard a heartrending witness statement from a young woman who had been forced into prostitution since her early teens. The man convicted of forcing the teen into prostitution, which took place in Santa Barbara County as well as other locations, was sentenced Friday to decades behind bars, but not before a violent outburst caused him to be physically removed from the courtroom.
Noozhawk Link to Story

Overcoming Odds That Would Sideline Many, La Cuesta High Senior Proud and Eager to Graduate

While Ana Catalan is sitting among her classmates at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse Sunken Garden on Tuesday, waiting in cap and gown to walk up and receive her diploma, all of the obstacles she’s faced to get to that moment will be running through her mind. Moving to California from Mexico, starting elementary school, without knowing any of her classmates or the language they were speaking.
Noozhawk Link to Story


Lara Cooper

Need a journalist or editor? Here’s what you need to know about me.


Most recently, I worked as a senior editor at Graphiq, a data visualization company that provides content to some of the world’s leading news publishers.

I edited hundreds of stories produced by our in-house team of a dozen reporters while guiding editorial direction and vision. Editing coverage of the 2016 election, sports and lifestyle articles were all part of my daily editing duties.

I provided a watchful eye for multiple story formats, correcting grammar and statistical errors in our articles, quizzes, slideshows, social media posts, video and visualizations before they were offered to publishing partners.

The syndicated content of my team brought in over 200 million page views a month, with our stories being adopted weekly by Hearst and Tribune Newswires, Sports Illustrated, MSN and Aol, among many others.

While working as senior editor, I helped create Graphiq’s own style guide and corrections policy and also helped develop success metrics for our publishing efforts. I also managed 10 freelance journalists, assigning story ideas, providing editing feedback and managing payroll.

I have extensive knowledge of AP Style and used my decade of newsroom experience to guide editorial decision-making and process.


My role at Graphiq reinforced my commitment to data journalism as a storytelling tool and medium. In addition to more traditional reporting tools, I am also comfortable working with data in Excel and SQL.

A firm believer in finding the right medium for the right story, I also have skills in HTML, CSS, Tableau, Timeline JS, Mapbox and other visualization programs.


Prior to becoming an editor, I worked for almost 10 years as an award-winning reporter and photojournalist based in Santa Barbara, California.

In 2015, my photojournalism work on the Refugio Oil Spill was published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the UK Guardian and featured on CNN and Good Morning America.

I was one of the first journalists to respond to the scene, and my photos from the incident were run in publications and on broadcast news around the world.

Other stories of mine have focused on human trafficking, drought, prescription drug abuse and gaps in California's mental healthcare system.