Hi! My name is Monica Luhar and I’m a freelance writer, journalist, dancer, and aspiring teacher based in Los Angeles, California. I fell into the world of journalism because my dada (grandfather) always nurtured my love for the craft and reminded me of my responsibility to tell untold stories and give voice to those who are unable to share their stories.
Although my dada did not live to see his granddaughter’s name on TV or her first byline in a national publication, I continue to feel his presence every day I pick up a recorder and a notepad. I carry his spirit and love for storytelling with me wherever I go, as a first-generation Indian American and the proud daughter of immigrants. He is a constant reminder that my work is never done, so long as there is a story that needs to be told.
My reporting adventures have led me to LA Men’s Central Jail, where I helped shadow and produce a story on the K6G unit and the challenges associated with the process of being selected and screened into the unit. I’ve also scouted out tattoo and piercing studios in Los Angeles, asking longtime piercers about their health concerns when exposed to constant irritants.
I also talked to college students about consent and whether sex education/affirmative consent was incorporated into the curriculum during freshman orientation for this viral VICE piece which was referenced in a follow-up story by ATTN:.
I also tried not to fangirl when I got to interview my childhood hero, Kev Nish, (“Like a G6″/”Rocketteer” from FAR EAST MOVEMENT).
My bylines have appeared in several hyperlocal and national news outlets: VICE Broadly, VICE Tonic, LA Weekly, NBC Latino, NBC Asian America, NBC Out, Yahoo! News, Huffington Post Los Angeles, KPCC, KCET, Time Inc’s Hellogiggles, New America Media, India-West, LA Beez, OC Weekly, the Aerogram, AOL’s Patch.com, San Diego Free Press, Louisiana Weekly, India-West.
Previously, I was part of the KCET team that took home several Emmy awards for its newsmagazine show, “SoCal Connected.” I was responsible for managing the show’s digital presence and social media accounts. Some of the stories we produced this past season focused on conversations about death and dying, a photography mentorship program for children with cancer, and a 2-part investigation into the Porter Ranch gas leak that displaced residents.