The Future of Investigative Journalism Is Here

InvestigateWest Managing Director Lee van der Voo attended the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in New Orleans — read on to find out where the field of journalism is headed and how non profit journalism studios like InvestigateWest are part of the solution.

SPJ award winners

This month, Development Manager Heather Kosaka looks back at the Society of Professional Journalists awards, and what they mean to up- and- coming reporters.

How we’ve changed since “Spotlight”

Spotlight reminds us how far journalism has come and continues to evolve. “Journalist” was dead last in a ranking of the top 200 jobs in 2015, citing the continued squeeze on newsrooms that stems from the lost advertising revenue that once funded them.

Newspapers

How the newspapers will die

In just the last 12 months, one in every 10 journalists at a daily newspaper in the U.S. lost his or her job, or left voluntarily and was not replaced.

A hurricane model for wildfires

With the help of University of Oregon’s Ben DeJarnette, we’re investigating forestry issues in Oregon, including the problem of potentially catastrophic wildfire. This month in SIDEBAR, an exclusive monthly dispatch from inside our newsroom just for InvestigateWest members, Robert McClure shares a story from his reporting. Spring has just sprung, and yet this summer’s fire outlook already is ominous across the Northwest. Snowpack in Washington’s Olympic Mountains is at something like 7 percent of normal. In the drier climes of southwestern Oregon conditions are even more parched.

Fundamental, or on the Chopping Block?

Our state’s Public Records Act, long a point of pride for Washingtonians, opens with a flourish: “The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them.” This month in SIDEBAR, an exclusive monthly dispatch from inside our newsroom just for InvestigateWest members, Kim Drury calls up the folks in charge of that Act:

For decades, the Public Records Act has protected Washingtonians’ right to know and the Public Disclosure Commission has been there to ensure that the law’s provisions are met. The Records Act, along with the Washington State Open Public Meetings Act, has long been a point of pride in the state. In 2001, then Attorney General and later two-term Governor Christine Gregoire said that “… people are entitled to pretty much any document that comes to my mind.” From 2004 through 2008 Washington was ranked first in the nation for its campaign finance disclosure rules. Today, Kim Abel, President of the League of Women Voters of Washington is still willing to say that Washington is at the forefront in the nation for open government.

Reporting B.F. (Before Ferguson)

We just published our first SIDEBAR of 2015 — an exclusive monthly dispatch from inside our newsroom just for InvestigateWest members. Have you ever wondered how a story goes from an idea in a reporter’s head to a published piece? This month, reporter Lee van der Voo gives an insider’s look at how our latest investigation came to be. Maybe a decade ago, my husband served on a felony grand jury. For 30 days in Multnomah County, he and six other people presided over person-to-person crimes, one of three sitting grand juries convened at all times. 

His tales of kidnappings and busted eyeballs horrified us both.