Journalist Loren Stein, Former Metro Writer, Dies at 62

We’re saddened to share the news that former Metro Silicon Valley staff writer Loren Stein, 62, died on Jan. 27 of leukemia. Her death was announced by her husband, Hal Plotkin, who called her “the light of my life and the source of every important blessing I have enjoyed” and wrote “I will miss her forever” in a touching social media post.

Stein produced a formidable body of investigative work, including deep dives into the local mental health system and a report on how local officials failed to prevent health care giant HCA from closing San Jose Medical Center.

Her work for Metro received first place recognition in the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Investigative Reporting category.

Stein graduated from UC Berkeley and earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of Journalism. In addition to Metro, she worked at the Emeryville-based Center for Investigative Reporting, Pacifica Radio, the Palo Alto Weekly and as a freelancer. She also sang in several jazz choirs, was a Big Sister in Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and volunteered at Planned Parenthood.

Her investigative reporting appeared in California LawyerChristian Science Monitor, Sacramento Bee, National Law Journal, Pacific News Service, Time-Life News Service, PBS Lehrer NewsHour, KQED-TV, Columbia Journalism Review, Mother Jones, The Recorder, and Infoworld. She was a researcher for the award-winning TV documentary series on climate change, “The Years of Living Dangerously.”

Stein grew up in Los Angeles. She married her husband, former Metro political writer and U.S. Department of Education official Plotkin, 21 years ago. The couple returned from the Washington, D.C., area to Palo Alto with their daughter Keira at the end of Hal’s service in the Obama administration.

Below are some notable examples of Stein’s journalism when she worked at Metro:


  1. Loren was a good friend of mine, separate from the journalism world. We met at UC Berkeley, and realized after some initial conversations that we had been hearing about each other for years through a mutual friend when we all lived in Los Angeles. It was quite a coincidence. Loren and I shared a similar sense of humor, which is to say, goofy and irreverent. We loved to laugh with each other, and we really brought out best in each other by together making the world our play toy. Loren could talk a blue streak, and I’m proud to say I could match her word for word, but was more happy to listen, in awe of her ability to analyze situations and scenarios with lightning speed. No one knows why these tragic losses happen. But suffice it to say, the loss of Loren has left a huge hole in my heart. I already miss her laughter a lot. I’ve lost a friend, and the world has lost a great soul.

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