InvestigateWest announced this week the addition of four veteran journalists who collectively bring more than 75 years of reporting and editing experience to the nonprofit newsroom.
Their work has appeared in top publications across the country, from the Seattle Times to the New York Times, and has been awarded with many of journalism’s highest honors, including the Pulitzer Prize. Jacqui Banaszynski, Jason Begay and Andrea Otáñez will serve as part-time senior editors overseeing projects and mentoring reporters. Wilson Criscione, meanwhile, will be InvestigateWest’s first full-time investigative reporter.
“This is a critical time for journalism in America — newsrooms have laid off tens of thousands of reporters since 2008 — and InvestigateWest is rising to the occasion,” Executive Director Jacob Fries said. “With this top-notch team coming onboard, InvestigateWest is better positioned than ever to pursue revelatory stories that spur real-world change.”
InvestigateWest is a nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigative journalism for the Pacific Northwest. Founded in 2009, the Seattle-based newsroom covers a range of topics including public health, the environment, youth, racial justice, voting and government accountability. Over the years, its reporting has prompted reforms and more than a half dozen different state laws protecting the environment, workers and foster children.
“The new members of the editorial team will help take InvestigateWest to a new level while building on the newsroom’s excellent track record in public service journalism,” said Brant Houston, the Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois who recently became InvestigateWest’s board president.
JACQUI BANASZYNSKI is a career journalist who now edits Nieman Storyboard, a global website that explores the art and craft of stories. She is an emerita professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and faculty fellow at the Poynter Institute. While at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, her series “AIDS in the Heartland” won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize in feature writing. She was a finalist for the 1986 Pulitzer in international reporting for coverage of the Ethiopian famine and won the nation’s top deadline sports reporting award for coverage of the 1988 Olympics.
JASON BEGAY is an associate professor at the University of Montana School of Journalism where he teaches the Montana Native News Project, a capstone course that gives students the opportunity to cover in-depth news stories on the state’s seven reservations. He grew up on the Navajo Nation and has worked as a reporter at the Navajo Times, the New York Times, the Oregonian and the Oakland Tribune.
ANDREA OTÁÑEZ has worked as a reporter, copy editor, team editor and columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune and the Seattle Times. She is currently an associate teaching professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she has developed courses in communication studies; race, gender, power and media representations of Latinx people; and critiques of journalistic objectivity.
WILSON CRISCIONE, a lifelong Washingtonian, has reported for various newspapers throughout the state, including the Bellingham Herald and the Inlander. His work has exposed top state officials for ignoring domestic violence, triggered criminal investigations into abusive police and uncovered mistreatment of children in schools and foster care. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.