InvestigateWest is a new model for investigative journalism for on the Pacific Northwest. We are a nonprofit studio founded in 2009 to strengthen communities, engage citizens in civic life, and help set the policy agenda through powerful, independent journalism.
The old model that supported rigorous public service reporting has collapsed. Thousands of reporting jobs have simply vanished in the Northwest, and along with them the in-depth, investigative reporting and memorable storytelling that keeps citizens informed about the issues that shape their lives and equipped with the information to do something about it.
Investigative reporting takes time, resources and talent that many traditional news outlets can no longer afford. We continue that work in new, innovative ways.
Our accomplished staff and contributors combine a passion for watchdog journalism with a rich fluency in how modern technology is creating new ways to connect with the public and, yes, pay for public interest reporting. InvestigateWest is supported by a diverse stream of revenue from individual donors, licensing frees from news outlets, and national and local foundations.
Since 2009, our reporting has directly brought about three new public safety laws in Washington State, new sexual assault policies at Reed College, and more than a dozen significant actions by city, state and federal agencies.
In 2012, more than 1.25 million people read, watched or listened to stories that we produced or published.
InvestigateWest is also committed to the future of watchdog journalism. We work shoulder-to-shoulder with reporters in public and commercial newsrooms to increase their capacity for watchdog reporting and maintain an active internship program with local universities.
The Pacific Northwest, for those of us who live here now, or whose spirits remain here even if we’ve moved elsewhere, is a unique place of enormous diversity, fragile beauty, and complex history. Beyond a place, it is also an identity. The fault lines that underlie our geography also lace us and our fates together. The people who call this region home have always relied on a rich tradition of storytelling.
At InvestigateWest, we tell the story of the Pacific Northwest for the 21st Century.
Wealth & Poverty | December 2013
It's the unexpected catch in catch-share programs: A federal program that was supposed to help preserve and enhance the fishing economy in Kake, Alaska, has instead helped cause a severe decline. Meanwhile, 50 miles southeast, the town of Petersburg is booming.
The third part in our trilogy of fish stories examines the consequences catch-share policy where it was born, even as the model has been established in 14 other U.S. fisheries, encompassing dozens of species ranging from New England scallops to Pacific sole.
Foster Care | November 2013
State law now allows more kids to stay in foster care for an extra three years — until age 21. But many either refuse the help, or fail to qualify for it.
An investigation by KUOW in collaboration with InvestigateWest looks at why this transition to adulthood is trickier than expected – for foster kids, and for the state.
Public Health | September 2013
Of the roughly 50,000 kids who will attend Seattle schools this fall, nearly 2,000 will hit the books in classrooms within 500 feet of Interstate 5, InvestigateWest has found. This despite a body of evidence dating back decades that highway air pollution can cause lifelong respiratory problems and asthma attacks and boost school absenteeism.
From Seattle to Spokane, what can be done to make sure schools are healthy places for kids?
Photo: John Marshall JHS, 1963. SPSA 108-97.
Public Health | July 2013
Memory loss is one of the symptoms of dementia. So is wandering. Over the last five years, at least 10 people in Washington state have died after wandering away from where they live. It’s a problem that communities will have to confront as the population ages. But not all police departments are prepared for these kinds of incidents.
Wealth & Poverty | June 2013
Six nonprofit groups arose on the Bering Sea shore, and they have invested mightily in ships, real estate and processing plants. Over two decades, the groups amassed a combined net worth of $785 million," write Lee van der Voo and The New York Times' Kirk Johnson.
But the results on the ground, in rural community and economic development, have been deeply uneven, and nonexistent for many people who still gaze out to the blinking lights of the factory ships and wonder what happened. Photo Credit: Jim Wilson/The New York Times
Public Health | March 2013
As Washington state was on the cusp of finalizing new, stronger water pollution limits, Boeing and its allies intervened, all the way up Gov. Gregoire herself. Using newly released public records, InvestigateWest uncovers how business interests and their allies trumped the health of sport fishermen, tribes, and everyone else who reels in dinner from local waterways.
Wealth & Poverty | February 2013
“It was just common knowledge – when you turn 18, you’re done,” Sharayah Lane said. “After the checks stopped coming, we all went our separate ways."
End of the Line is a new series by Claudia Rowe asking what happens when teens get too old for foster care in Washington State.
Photo Credit: Jon Connell/Flickr