Allison Augustyn is the Executive Director of InvestigateWest. Before InvestigateWest, Augustyn was a nonprofit consultant advising multiple Seattle institutions in strategic planning, fundraising, board development, marketing, and monitoring and evaluation of success. Former clients include the World Justice Project, the Pacific Science Center, the Arts Council of Mongolia, and Seattle Arts & Lectures, among others. She has also served on the boards of Rainier Valley Food BankThe Common Acre, and Richard Hugo House, where she still serves. A former journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times Newsgroup, Augustyn has been published in a variety of papers, journals, and wrote an award-winning book for the University of Chicago. She maintains a keen interest in science and environment, human culture, and the world in general.


Robert McClure is Co-Founder and Executive Editor of InvestigateWest. At the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Robert exposed a major weakness in the Endangered Species Act and deficiencies in Puget Sound restoration efforts. His reporting on hard-rock mining won the John B. Oakes Award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism. A longtime former board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, he currently serves as chairman of the editorial board of SEJournal, the group’s quarterly publication. Seattle Magazine in 2013 chose him as one of Seattle’s “most influential” people.

Ariel Shearer is the Senior Engagement Officer at InvestigateWest, where she works to expand the reach and impact of INVW’s reporting while managing daily newsroom operations. Prior to joining the team in August 2020, Ariel was the senior editor for Seattle magazine. Previously, she led communications and engagement initiatives for environmental and social justice nonprofits, earned her journalism degree from Emerson College and launched her media career at the late Boston Phoenix. Ariel identifies as a queer femme and believes in fighting for journalism that serves many and varied community needs and perspectives. Her writing has appeared in a range of print and digital publications, including HuffPost, the Arts Paper and others.

Peter Fairley is Senior Editor for Energy and Climate at InvestigateWest. He’s based in Vancouver Island and San Francisco, and covers stories about the environment, including his examination of  Cross-Laminated Timber for InvestigateWest. Previously, he spent two decades traveling the world to look at the intersection of energy and the environment. He has won a Society of Environmental Journalists’ award for Outstanding Beat Reporting. His byline appears regularly in diverse print and online publications, including Scientific AmericanNewScientistHakai MagazineIEEE Spectrum and Nature.

Contributing Writers

Allegra Abramo is a freelance writer based in Seattle whose deep-dive reporting for InvestigateWest has included foster care pieces that led to reforms and reporting on the environment. Her byline has appeared in ProPublica and, as well as other local and national outlets. You can reach her at

Jason Buch is an independent journalist in Seattle whose reporting for InvestigateWest has included partnering with data analyst Joy Borkholder on their “Driving While Indian” investigation, which led to action from the Washington State Legislature. Elsewhere, Buch spent a decade covering the Texas-Mexico border. His work has appeared in the San Antonio Express-News and Laredo Morning Times.  

Rachel Nielsen is a Seattle-based freelance reporter who delves into foster care issues for investigative and explanatory pieces for InvestigateWest. Nielsen previously covered venture capital and technology from New York/Jersey City for Dow Jones Newsletters, affordable housing from New York for City Limits, and politics and business from Russia for The Moscow Times, International Business Times and VICE News. Her features and news articles also have been published by The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and Puget Sound Business Journal.

Levi Pulkkinen is a Seattle-based independent journalist whose environmental reporting for InvestigateWest includes dispatches from Olympia during the 2020 Washington Legislature and exploring issues facing wildland firefighters. Formerly a senior editor with, he is a frequent contributor to The Guardian and his work has appeared in High Country News, Bitterroot magazine, Crosscut, Seattle Met and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Contributors and Alumni

Jenny Cunningham – Sally Deneen – Francesca Lyman – Joy Borkholder – Brad Shannon – Lee van der Voo – Sergio Olmos – Rebecca Clarren – Susanna Ray – Adiel Kaplan – Ashley Stewart – Christopher Dunagan – Ben DeJarnette – James Gordon – Lael Henterly – Kate Martin – Olivia Henry – Claudia Rowe – Will Graff – Stephanie Schendel – Carol Smith – Rita Hibbard


Mara Kardas-Nelson is a freelance journalist based in Berkeley, Calif., where she recently completed a Master’s in Journalism at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.  Her work has appeared in The NationAl Jazeera, the Mail & Guardian, and NPR, among others.



Documentary and feature photography is shot by Dan DeLong, Leah Nash, Mike Kane, Adam Bacher and Paul Joseph Brown.

Board of Directors

Photo by Bob FergusonDon Smith, President and Board Chair, spent more than 40 years leading teams at newsrooms in Idaho, Texas and Washington as a city editor, assistant city editor, political editor and business editor. He left professional journalism in 2009 when the Seattle Post-Intelligencer closed its doors in the midst of an economic tsunami that is still decimating America’s newsrooms. But he remains firmly committed to the importance of journalistic independence, shared truth, and the hard work it sometimes takes to uncover it.

Paul Joseph Brown, Vice President, is a retired photojournalist. He worked on staff at newspapers in Maine, Oregon, Alaska, Texas, and retired after 20 years on staff at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2009. Subsequently, he founded Global Health Photo ( and Ecosystem Photo (, completing documentary photography projects for a variety of national and international clients in more than 30 countries. Since his retirement Paul has dedicated himself to progressive political and social change as a philanthropist.

Brant Houston, Treasurer, holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois. Houston teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism in the College of Media at Illinois. He also oversees the online newsroom at Illinois,, which serves as a lab for digital innovation and data journalism. Houston became the chair in 2007 after serving for more than a decade as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a 5,000-member organization, and as a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years. Houston is the author of four editions of the textbook, “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide,” and co-author of the fourth edition and fifth edition of “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.” He co-founded the Global Investigative Journalism Network in 2003 and serves as chair of its board of directors. He has taught and spoken about investigative and computer-assisted reporting at newsrooms and universities in 25 countries. Currently he is working on projects involving nonprofit journalism newsrooms, digital tools for news-gathering, and new business models for journalism.

Berit Anderson is director of programs for Strategic News Service and FiRe events. Previously, she co-founded and served as the CEO of, a media company exploring the future of technology through analysis, science fiction, and scenario planning games. An international keynote speaker and advisor on innovation, technology, media, and global policy, Berit has appeared at the Brussels Forum, the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Conference on World Affairs, TEDxVilnius, DevoxxBelgium, and TEQNation, among others. In 2017, her work on information warfare was featured in the New Yorker, Gizmodo, and TechCrunch, and cited by internet creator Tim Berners-Lee as one of the top three challenges facing the internet. Berit is a member of Global Shapers, the World Economic Forum’s international network of young leaders; and serves on the boards of environmental media nonprofit Yes! Magazine.

Beverly Wyse has over 30 years of leadership experience primarily in the Aerospace industry. Now retired from Boeing, where she held a variety of roles including President of Shared Services, Vice President and General Manager of the 767, 737 and 787 programs. Wyse currently serves on various Boards and is a consultant to numerous  international companies. In addition to her role on the Investigate West Board, she is also on the Olin Board of Trustees, a top ranked engineering school focused on innovative education.  Wyse is also on the Board of Trustees at Heroux-Devtek Inc, a company specializing in the aerospace market in the design, manufacture and integration, of landing gear and actuation systems and components. Wyse is also a strategic advisor in the aerospace sector to Arcadis, a multi-billion dollar infrastructure company. Wyse has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration, both from the University of Washington in Seattle.  She is a born and raised Puget Sound native with a love of hiking, watersports, and winter sports such as skiing and snow shoeing.   

Joe Copeland is the former senior editor for Crosscut, where he has been an editor since 2010. Before that, he was an editorial writer and columnist for the Seattle P-I and editorial page editor of the Everett Herald. A Fulbright researcher in Japan in 2009, he is the author of an e-book, “Peace Quest: The Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”​


Note: All titles for identification purposes only.