I was very honored over the weekend to be on a panel with National Public Radio's Daniel Zwerdling, whose tireless reporting on the homefront impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been amazing. The event was a weekend-long "NPR on Location" that brought together some of NPR's biggest stars, including foreign correspondents Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Anthony Khun and Quil Lawrence, Morning Edition host Renee Montagne and All Things Considered host Michele Norris. For a veteran NPR listener like myself, who typically has one of the local stations tuned in while I work, it was indeed a treat.
Zwerdling and I were joined by KUOW-FM's investigative reporter John Ryan for a discussion called "The New Watchdogs." It was a great discussion of where investigative reporting is headed, based on the trends in the news industry (bad – layoffs, newspaper closures), but new developments in collaborative and nonprofit journalism that bode well for continued strong voices. NPR, of course, is the veteran, broadcast model for nonprofit journalism, and InvestigateWest is one of a handful of new regional models that are working to keep investigative reporting strong and sustain public service journalism.
It was great to hear how Zwerdling got his start in investigative journalism as a high school newspaper editor who was duped by his principal. His reporting on the shooting at Fort Hood that killed 13 people was stellar, including this story that uncovered a memo in which a top Army psychiatrist warned about the shooter's – himself an Army psychiatrist – reckless behavior.
Ryan is KUOW's first investigative reporter, and his recent work includes this story on Washington state keeps its lists of troubled doctors a secret. InvestigateWest has recently published work in regional and national media on campus sexual assault and on toxic sealants used nationwide on parking lots.