The power of regional investigative reporting

Rita Hibbard's picture
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We have good news about the news business to share. Our work makes a difference!

InvestigateWest's groundbreaking story on the hazards of chemotherapy exposure for health care workers has resulted in the passage of two laws improving worker safety in Washington state, signed by Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire in April. One of the laws establishes an occupational cancer registry in the state, and the other regulates better regulates toxic compounds, including chemo drugs, in the workplace. That story first appeared on our web site, on msnbc.com, The Seattle Times and in a documentary we co-produced with KCTS 9.

In addition, a measure banning toxic pavement sealants also was signed into law by the governor. That effort came after InvestigateWest  wrote about the issue just over a year ago. With the governor's signature, Washington state became the first state in the nation to ban the sealants, joining a handful of smaller governments across the nation that have taken similar steps. That work appeared on our web site and on msnbc.com.

That's direct, important change because of the work of InvestigateWest journalists. And that's an amazing record for any news organization, particularly a new,  nonprofit news organization! Since our launch two years ago, our work has appeared in a variety of regional and national news organizations, including public radio and television, commercial television, regional newspapers, national and regional online news sites, ethnic media and more.

Our journalists are veterans, with established, award-winning records. InvestigateWest was founded with the closure of the print Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and is dedicated to public-service journalism that makes a difference. Judging  by these results, it's working!

We haven't rested on our laurels.

In recent months, our journalists have covered a wide range of issues, from rain gardens in Seattle, to campus sexual assault in Portland, to the health of neighborhood residents living along the Duwamish Superfund site, to regional air safety across the skies of Washington. Our recent work has appeared in The Oregonian, Seattlepi.com, Crosscut, King 5 TV, KUOW, The Seattle Times and The Spokesman-Review.

We also convened a community conversation in March about stormwater, the biggest pollution threat to Puget Sound, by co-hosting  a public forum and panel discussion in Olympia. We gathered more than 70 people in a standing-room-only lunchroom crowd in Olympia for the discussion, co-sponsored by the Washington Policy Center, a conservative think tank, and the Sightline Institute, a liberal think tank.

"We saw it as a great opportunity for two think tanks from the opposite sides of the table to have a discussion on stormwater," Brandon Housekeeper, an environmental-policy analyst with the Washington Policy Center, told The Olympian newspaper, which covered the session. "The discussion isn't meant to move legislation in one direction or another."

We're excited that our work brings needed change and civic debate, and we appreciate your support helping us do this important journalism!

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