Lara Cooper

Data Journalist and Editor

Santa Barbara, California

Lara Cooper


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.
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Safety, Reliability of County Fire Department Helicopters Challenged After Hiker’s Death

Murmurs of discord are leaking out from personnel of the usually tight-lipped Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s and Fire departments that hint at potentially significant safety problems involving the county’s aviation unit.
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While Son Struggled with Mental Illness, Father Fought His Own Battle

Just before 4 a.m., Rich Detty heard a knock. The Santa Maria man opened his front door and was surprised to see a Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputy standing there. Detty assumed the officer was trying to find his son, Cliff, since he’d had several run-ins with the law and he thought there might be an outstanding warrant.
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After Losing It All, Former Drug Addict Looking Forward to Renewed Life

Police kicked in the door of a Lompoc motel room where they suspected drug activity was taking place, and officers swarmed in to arrest the two people inside.
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Drug Investigation Links Santa Barbara Doctor’s Prescriptions to 11 Patient Deaths

An affidavit provided includes sordid allegations that a Santa Barbara physician's drug-prescribing habits are related to nearly a dozen deaths among his patients and hundreds of visits to local emergency rooms.
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Seclusion, Restraints and Screams Marked Man’s Final Hours at Psychiatric Unit

After hours of screaming, Cliff Detty wasn’t breathing. His chest lay still beneath the restraint that held it down. His limbs, also strapped down, stopped thrashing. Under the clinical lights of the room in which he was placed for observation, the 46-year-old Santa Maria man was alone when he slipped away. It’s unclear how much time passed before nurses noticed he wasn’t breathing, and the CPR they began wasn’t enough to ward off death. The voice that had been screaming out for release from the straps was now quiet. Paramedics arrived, but after a time, the chest compressions stopped. Now, only silence.
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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.