UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications, Mary Osako, has named Steve Ritea, a veteran communications expert, as UCLA’s first chief media and executive communications officer.
In this newly created role, Ritea will manage media relations, executive communications, the UCLA Broadcast Studio and UCLA Newsroom, the university’s primary source of news and information. Ritea will report directly to Osako, who was named the university’s first vice chancellor for strategic communications in September 2019.
Ritea joined UCLA in 2011, previously serving in a variety of leadership roles, including senior executive director of media relations and senior executive director of executive communications.
“Working at the nation’s No. 1-ranked public university has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, particularly thanks to the many exceptional and dedicated people working here,” Ritea said. “I am so excited to expand my role, particularly under Mary’s leadership and driven by her vision to tell UCLA’s story in bold, new ways that enhance our reach and impact.”
“Steve is an extraordinary leader, a deft communications strategist, and a great human being,” Osako said. “He has served as a trusted partner to me since I joined UCLA last quarter, and I’m confident he will translate ideas into long-lasting impact. We are expanding our Strategic Communications team at UCLA, and I’m excited to have Steve take the helm of this vital team as we tell UCLA’s story in bold, new ways.”
Before joining UCLA, Ritea spent three years as press secretary for the New York City Fire Department. He previously spent 15 years as a newspaper reporter and editor at various papers, including Newsday, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where he worked as an editor and reporter for nearly a decade, including during Hurricane Katrina, which earned the paper’s staff two Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage. Ritea is a native Californian, the son of a devoted Bruin, and a graduate of UC Berkeley and New York University.