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InvestigateWest gets boost for in-depth reporting

InvestigateWest, a promising journalism non-profit born out of the Hearst Corporation’s closure of the Post-Intelligencer newspaper just under a year ago, has a very decent chunk of new money in its bank account.

The investigative reporting group received a $100,000 grant from the Oklahoma City-based Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. The foundation says it emphasizes investigative reporting to “increase watchdog journalism on state and local issues.”

InvestigateWest’s staff, headed by highly regarded journalist and editor Rita Hibbard, includes Robert McClure, whose reporting largely prompted Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Puget Sound-protection efforts, and Carol Smith, frequently honored for her writing on health, mental health, and other issues. InvestigateWest also has two of the paper’s rising stars: Kristen Millares Young, who pretty much single-handedly kept the Port of Seattle in the P-I’s final years, and Daniel Lathrop, a whiz with computer-assisted reporting who has won national and regional journalism awards.

InvestigateWest and other members of the Investigative News Network, a consortium of nonprofit outlets, just published the results of an examination of how sexual assaults are handled on college campuses. It was published here in cooperation with Seattlepi.com, KUOW-FM, and the Spokane Spokesman-Review.

In a statement, Hibbard said, “This is a significant grant that pays tribute to the quality of our journalists, the importance of the work we do and the degree of threat that in-depth, investigative journalism is facing.” On a blog at InvestigateWest, Hibbard let herself be a little more informal, describing the grant as “our Olympic gold.” Reflecting some of the challenges facing journalism economics, she added, “It’s gold, and of Olympic quality, because in this economic climate, it’s that hard to come by.”

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