Our Mission

InvestigateWest is a nonprofit investigative journalism newsroom located in Seattle, WA. We focus on critical issues that impact our communities throughout the Pacific Northwest and Cascadia, with a special focus on environment, government and corporate accountability, and public health. Our mission is to engage Pacific Northwest residents in social issues by providing compelling, change making investigative and explanatory journalism. Our vision is a society of informed residents empowered to exercise their rights and work within their communities to make the world a more just and equitable place.

Our History

InvestigateWest was founded in 2009 by Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper reporters and editors after the paper stopped publishing. Seeing the need for local news, we have worked to build a nonprofit model for public-service journalism, and publish dozens of in-depth stories every year that reach audiences of over one million people. We produce original reporting and tools that equip the public to participate in our democracy, and collaborate with other news outlets to pursue consequential journalism. Partners include The Atlantic, Crosscut, Grist, Salon, The New York Times, KUOW Public Radio, and more.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility

InvestigateWest is committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). Our work relies on our ability to build authentic and trusting relationships across the spectrum of our human differences. As individuals, we carry our identities and experiences with us. Creating and sustaining inclusive working environments for all individuals is vital to the future of InvestigateWest and to providing the best public service journalism for our communities.

COMPETITIVE PAY. We offer competitive pay for staff and freelancers, including producers, editors, reporters, development, and in every area of our work. In journalism, socioeconomic factors have prevented diversity, and without addressing those factors many DEI efforts have failed.  DEI EDITORIAL & OPERATIONAL FOCUS. We will create stories, working environments, and engagement techniques in which all people are valued, respected, and can engage without barriers. We will use an equity lens to examine all stories and initiatives going forward. This is a series of questions we will ask ourselves internally before we begin any new initiative at INVW, including: Who is the right person to report on this story? To edit this story? To photograph this story? What is their cultural competency, especially as it relates to language choice? There are more ongoing questions that we will define and answer with our community. WHERE WE LIVE & WORK. We acknowledge that the Seattle offices of InvestigateWest are located on Indigenous lands, and our work takes place in Indigenous spaces. We are located on the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Coast Salish people, including the Duwamish People past and present.

Fast Fact Information:

  • Mailing address: P.O. Box 9574, Seattle, WA, 98109
  • EIN: 27-0170663
  • Phone: 1-425-954-7169

Our Team

Jacob Fries
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Jacob Fries is executive director of InvestigateWest. Previously, Fries spent more than a decade leading the Inlander, a Spokane-based weekly paper covering the Inland Northwest that’s become a regional powerhouse for narrative and accountability reporting. A Pacific Northwest native, he also worked as a reporter at the Tampa Bay Times and the New York Times, and his work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Seattle Times, the Denver Post, and the Boston Globe. Reach him at jacob@invw.org.

Jacqui Banaszynski
SENIOR EDITOR

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. Banaszynski has edited numerous award-winning projects, ranging from narratives to investigative projects. In 2008, she was named to the Association of Sunday and Features Editors Features Hall of Fame.

Jason Begay
SENIOR EDITOR

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
SENIOR EDITOR

Andrea Otáñez of Seattle, Washington, has worked as a reporter, copy editor, team editor and columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune and The Seattle Times. She is currently a teaching professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she teaches journalism classes and has developed courses in communication studies; race, gender, power and media representations of Latinx people; and critiques of journalistic objectivity.

Jim Simon
SENIOR EDITOR

Jim Simon is currently an adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Washington. He is the former managing editor of Honolulu Civil Beat, a nonprofit focused on in-depth reporting in Hawaii and the Pacific. Simon is also the former managing editor of the Seattle Times, where he spent more than 30 years as an editor and reporter. In addition to helping lead Times’ teams that won Pulitzer Prizes in 2010 and 2015, his own investigative reporting on environment and mental health issues in the Northwest has won national awards. He has also taught and trained journalists in Southeast Asia, as well as worked as a wire service reporter in the Philippines. Simon is the former national president of the Associated Press Media Editors association.

Wilson Criscione
NEWS AND INVESTIGATIONS EDITOR

Wilson Criscione, a lifelong Washingtonian, joined InvestigateWest in 2022 after reporting for multiple newspapers in the state. His work exposing corruption and injustice has triggered state foster care reform, sparked criminal investigations of abusive police, and inspired proposed legislation to protect victims of sexual abuse. Reach him at wilson@invw.org.

Shawn Vestal
EDITOR AND OPERATIONS COORDINATOR
Shawn Vestal has been a journalist in the Northwest for more than 35 years, working as an editor, reporter and columnist at newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Most recently, he has been a columnist at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane since 2012. He is also the author of two works of fiction: “Godforsaken Idaho,” a collection of short stories that won the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Award for debut fiction, and “Daredevils,” a novel that won the Washington Book Award. Reach him at shawn@invw.org.

Lynnie McIlvain
DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Lynnie McIlvain brings over five years of expertise in institutional and annual giving and a passion for public transparency and news access to InvestigateWest. Motivated by a deep belief in integrity and intentional societal change, she is called to servant leadership. She is a classically educated historian and an alumna of Clark College and the University of Puget Sound. Reach her at lynnie@invw.org.

Chris Frisella
COPY EDITOR
Chris Frisella is a native Northwesterner with over 30 years of news editing and newsroom leadership experience. He’s edited many award-winning watchdog and investigative news articles for the Eugene Register-Guard, The Anchorage Times, Spokane’s weekly Inlander, and InvestigateWest, plus more than a dozen books. Chris is passionate about helping fellow journalists do their best work telling important true stories that make a difference.

Whitney Bryen
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
Whitney Bryen is an award-winning reporter with a passion for open records and raising the voices of disadvantaged people. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Bryen cut her journalism teeth at the Boulder Daily Camera and the Longmont Times-Call in Colorado covering general assignments and education. After returning to her home state of Oklahoma, Bryen’s reporting on domestic violence, COVID-19 and the deadly toll of untreated mental illness on jail detainees moved state leaders to action resulting in policy change. Reach her at whitney@invw.org.

Melanie Henshaw
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
Melanie Henshaw covers Indigenous affairs and communities in the Pacific Northwest. Formerly the Indigenous affairs reporter for Portland’s Street Roots, Henshaw focuses on tribal sovereignty, environmental destruction and cultural preservation. Henshaw is a graduate of the University of Oregon and citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Reach her at melanie@invw.org.

Kaylee Tornay
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER

Kaylee Tornay has been documenting stories in Oregon and California since her high school journalism days in Bend, Oregon, covering the progress of the water polo team. A graduate of the University of Oregon, she braved the rains of Eugene with her notebook before moving on to cover wildfire mitigation and dangerous highways in the forests and vineyards of Southern Oregon and Sonoma County. She has won regional awards for her work watchdogging public and private schools’ efficacy in meeting student needs, from safety to mental health support to instruction. Reach her at kaylee@invw.org.

Kelsey Turner
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER
Kelsey Turner began her career investigating gender-based violence against Indigenous people for publications including Restoration Magazine and Native News Online. She previously covered homelessness and affordable housing for the Columbian in Vancouver, Washington, where she shed light on injustices facing the region’s lowest-income residents. A graduate of Brown University, her reporting has stretched from her home state of New Jersey to Illinois, Montana, Idaho and Washington. Reach her at kelsey@invw.org.

Daniel Walters
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER / REPORT FOR AMERICA CORPS MEMBER
Daniel Walters covers the far right, the radical left, and the beleaguered democratic institutions caught in the middle. Since 2008, he’s won respect from observers across the ideological spectrum for his aggressive and rigorous reporting. Previously at the Inlander, the alt-weekly in Spokane, Washington, Walters has interviewed everyone from Catholic bishops to far-right bikers, from congressional leaders to sexist social media trolls. His exploration of the rise of vigilantism won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s first-place national prize for right-wing extremism reporting, while his account of an Afghan’s unsuccessful attempt to escape his country after it fell to the Taliban won first place for immigration reporting. Reach him at daniel@invw.org.

Board of Directors

Brant Houston
PRESIDENT AND BOARD CHAIR

Brant Houston 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, CU-CitizenAccess.org, 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.

Paul Joseph Brown
VICE PRESIDENT

Paul Joseph Brown 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 (globalhealthphoto.com) and Ecosystem Photo (ecosystemphoto.com), 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.

Celia Wu
TREASURER

Celia is Director of Education & Learning with Legitimate, the Journalist’s Toolkit. She holds a Master of Arts from the Missouri School of Journalism, where her thesis project was on local news sustainability and innovation. Prior companies she worked for in consulting, revenue strategy, business development, audience engagement, and product development capacities include Global Press, Vice Media LLC, The 614 Group (a management consultancy for digital media), Operative Media, MSNBC.com, and Microsoft. Celia spent 14 years living and working in Asia, moving there to join the launch team of STAR TV, Asia’s first satellite TV broadcaster. While in Asia, she went on to work as Executive Vice President & General Manager for Turner Entertainment before joining Microsoft as General Manager for MSN Asia. Celia began her career in television news on the production crew of ABC News 20/20, before moving to the business side with Public Television International. Celia was a 2023-24 Fellow with the Reynolds Journalism Institute where she developed the first-ever Chrome extension of a newsroom’s styleguide. She serves as an Alumni Trustee for Hampshire College, as a Board Director for the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) Seattle, as National Co-Chair of the AAJA Style Guide Committee, and volunteers as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). With roots across three continents, Celia is a licensed basketball and soccer referee and a choir singer.

Berit Anderson
DIRECTOR

Previously, she co-founded and served as the CEO of Scout.ai, 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.

Jeremy Gilbert
DIRECTOR

Jeremy Gilbert is the Knight Chair of Digital Media Strategy at Northwestern University’s Medill School and he oversees the Knight Lab. Both his work and teaching focus on the content and revenue strategies of existing and emerging media companies. He explores the intersection of technology and media, examining how new tools and techniques will affect the creation, consumption and distribution of media. Prior to assuming the Knight Chair, Gilbert was The Washington Post’s Director of Strategic Initiatives where he created and led the Lede Lab, an award-winning team that helped in transforming The Post into an international, digital-first news organization. His other past roles include National Geographic, The Poynter Institute, The Tampa Bay Times and The News-Press.

Terri Hiroshima
DIRECTOR

Terri Hiroshima joined the University of Washington in 2015 and currently serves as Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Communications for the Alumni Association. She leads multiple teams and a body of work that supports meaningful engagement and stewardship of diverse audiences. Terri has held executive marketing and leadership positions throughout her career, most recently as Vice President of Communications at Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce; Executive Director at Crosscut Public Media; and Marketing Director at Seattle Theatre Group. Terri began her career in the performing arts field where she helped produce, promote, and introduce national and international artists and arts organizations to wide-ranging audiences throughout the Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest. She has volunteered and served in leadership roles on several boards of non-profit organizations over the past twenty years, and in the last decade has chaired the Seattle Arts Commission and served as board president for Pratt Fine Arts Center. 

Diana Huynh
DIRECTOR

Diana Huynh leads the development and execution of communications strategies for Inatai Foundation, which seeks to transform the balance of power to ensure racial justice in Washington and beyond. A journalist by training, Diana has more than a decade of experience in nonprofit and policy communications. Additionally, she previously worked with the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C. and with Asian Americans for Equality in New York. She is a proud to be part of the South Seattle Community.

Joshua Trujillo
DIRECTOR

Joshua Trujillo is senior visual storyteller for Starbucks Coffee Company. Working as a visual journalist for more than 20 years, Josh uses his craft of still and moving images to document the unique and the ordinary. His still photography has been published in almost every major U.S. newspaper, magazine, and website, including on the front page of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and full-page features in People Magazine following the 2010 Haiti earthquake and in Sports Illustrated during the Seahawks run to the Super Bowl. Josh is on the Board of Directors for Seattle’s Photographic Center Northwest, is a co-founder of Northwest Photojournalism, organizations that support and educate lens-based storytellers in the Pacific Northwest.

Beverly Wyse
DIRECTOR

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.

Past Contributors

Allegra Abramo • Joy Borkholder • Jason Buch • Rebecca Clarren • Jenny Cunningham • Sally Deneen • Ben DeJarnette • Christopher Dunagan • Peter Fairley • James Gordon • Will Graff • Olivia Henry • Lael Henterly • Rita Hibbard • Adiel Kaplan • Mara Kardas-Nelson • Francesca Lyman • Kate Martin • Robert McClure • Rachel Nielsen • Sergio Olmos • Levi Pulkkinen • Susanna Ray • Claudia Rowe • Stephanie Schendel • Brad Shannon • Carol Smith • Ashley Stewart • Lee van der Voo

Photography

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