July 8, 2009
SEATTLE – InvestigateWest launches today to provide high-quality investigative journalism about environmental, health and social justice issues across the West.
InvestigateWest is a nonprofit investigative journalism studio that will distribute its work online, in print and on radio and TV stations. InvestigateWest will distribute its multimedia content through individual partnerships with media organizations and through its own syndicated service.
“InvestigateWest is a new model of public service journalism that seeks to fill the void rapidly developing in investigative coverage,” InvestigateWest Executive Director and Editor Rita Hibbard said. “Our goal is to produce journalism that empowers citizens and changes institutions. We will measure our success by the impact of our stories.”
Hibbard noted the recent closure of four daily Western newspapers in Seattle, Denver, Tucson and Albuquerque, and the loss of thousands of other jobs at remaining news organizations. “It’s a time of great challenge in the news industry,” she said. “But it’s also a time to be creative and try new approaches.”
Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) to conduct journalism for the public trust, InvestigateWest last week became a founding member of the nonprofit Investigative News Network aligning more than 25 investigative news organizations. Funding strategies, news distribution and administrative costs could be pooled among partners like the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and newer ventures such as the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University and the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism in Madison.
InvestigateWest has received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, in-kind contributions from major firms, including the K&L Gates law firm and Point B Solutions Group in Seattle, and donations from individual donors, and is actively fundraising from individuals and foundations. Our journalists are already reporting a number of stories for which we are developing media partnerships and seeking funding. Those interested in making a tax-deductible donation can send donations to InvestigateWest at 600 N. 36th St., Suite 316, Seattle, WA, 98103.
InvestigateWest adheres to the high standards of objectivity and accuracy that have always informed the Fourth Estate: integrity, fairness and an independent quest for truth.
“Across the country, there has been a decline in newsroom staff and resources for investigative reporting,” said Brant Houston, an InvestigateWest advisory board member and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois. “InvestigateWest can help fill that growing gap of in-depth public service journalism. Endeavors like this are critical to the functioning of a democratic society.”
“The news ecology is fragmenting, and the first thing that seems to be going in organizations is to spend money, time and thinking power on the issues that are really important to the communities they serve,” said Vikki Porter, an InvestigateWest advisory board member and director of the Knight Digital Media Center. “New models are needed to keep the spirit of watchdog journalism alive. Despite what’s happening in the industry as a whole and in the profession as a whole, this is the perfect time for this kind of venture.”
InvestigateWest staffers have won or been finalists for every significant national journalism award for investigative and narrative work, including the Pulitzer Prize, the White House Correspondents’ Association Edgar A. Poe Award, the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism, Best of the West and the PEN literary award.
In addition to its core group of six journalists, InvestigateWest is establishing a network of correspondents throughout the West. These freelancers will serve as listening posts as well as producers of innovative, insightful journalism. In addition, a panel of nationally distinguished journalists has agreed to serve on the venture’s advisory board. InvestigateWest has also begun an internship program this summer with two Western Washington University journalism students.
Westerners have always relied on a rich tradition of storytelling. At InvestigateWest, we plan to tell the story of the West for the 21st century.
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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
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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