The Newsman: 5Q’s with LA Times and KTLA TV Consumer Advocate David Lazarus

As a respected columnist and consumer advocate for the Los Angeles Times and local news station KTLA, the eyewear category caught his attention the past few years. In particular, the consumer retail mark-ups and lack of transparency surrounding optical products, optical practices and the large companies who dominate the optical and eyewear marketplace. When he bought a pair of Tajima Direct Rx Progressive lenses for his Oliver People’s frames in May, he was immediately impressed with our lens quality and service. So much so he made another Rx purchase last week! With the pandemic raging on, we invited David to join our 5Q series.

David Lazarus Sunglasses

1) As a respected journalist, what inspires you each and every day to do what you do?

That’s easy: the readers and viewers who share their consumer problems with me. It’s both a privilege and a responsibility to see if I can help untangle messes large and small, and each day brings new challenges. We also live in, as the Chinese say, interesting times, so I take pride in being able to help people understand economic and financial issues, and to cut through corporate and political spin to get at the underlying facts. Whenever I score a win on someone’s behalf – such as resolving a billing matter or, in one instance, freeing an innocent man from jail – it makes all the legwork and hassle worthwhile.

2) As a columnist who reports over multiple news mediums and story interests, with years of experience, how do you decide what news items, consumer interests or positions to take or dig into each day?

You have to pick your battles. No matter what I tee off on, I still have to submit two columns a week, so I can’t dive into something that’s going to be as long as “The Lord of the Rings.” That said, I look for topics I can’t readily answer. My rule of thumb is that if I don’t know something, chances are neither does the reader. That also keeps things fresh for me as a reporter. Most journalists get into the game because they want to dig up news and make a difference. I look for topics that allow me to do both.

3) How has Covid-19 and the resulting shutdown affected, impacted / disrupted your life?

Well, I’m writing this from home, so there you are. It’s hard (for me anyway) to be as productive as usual without the resources of a top-flight newsroom. But like everyone else, I’ve adapted to the new normal. The most challenging thing for me has been doing my daily KTLA TV segments from home. I have a laptop on a stack of books as my camera, a folding bamboo screen as a backdrop, strategically placed desk lamps for lighting and a Skype account – it’s all very MacGyver. Yet somehow it gets pulled off most days. I’ll be glad when I’m back in the studio.

4) Were there any “Silver Linings” or positive surprises that may have resulted from the Covid-19 shutdown?

Just prior to the pandemic, my son and I set up a home gym with a bench we bought on Amazon and weights that a neighbor didn’t want. So one upside to house arrest has been that I’m working out a lot more often and, I don’t mind saying, I’m getting pretty strong. If this mess lasts into the fall, I could be the Dwayne Johnson of consumer columnists. I also never knew how needy my dog is. He hasn’t left my side once throughout this whole damn ordeal. Not that I’m complaining.

5) What’s impressed you most about Tajima Direct and your new lenses; and how would you recommend to a friend?

I’ve already recommended them to both friends and readers. I haven’t had prescription sunglasses in many years. I relied on photochromic (transitions) lenses and clip-ons. Proper sunglasses work better when it comes to reducing glare and eye strain. And I can say without hesitation that Tajima Direct’s lenses are very high quality, and that the company took good care of the frames I sent in and performed all work to high standards. In fact, I was so pleased with my new shades, I ordered additional lenses (blue mirror this time) for another pair of old frames. Tajima Direct is a strong competitor with a solid product.