Brant Houston is the Knight Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois where he teaches journalism and oversees local and regional investigative projects. Prior to becoming the Knight Chair, Houston served for more than 10 years as executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), a nonprofit organization of more than 4,000 members headquartered at the University of Missouri, where he was a professor in journalism. He also is a co-founder of the U.S.-based Investigative News Network and of the Global Investigative Journalism Network and serves on the boards of several regional investigative centers in the United States. He is the author of Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide and co-author of The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook. Before joining IRE, Houston was an award-winning investigative reporter at U.S. daily newspapers for 17 years.
Peter Eisler is an investigative reporter at USA TODAY, where he’s reported on everything from lax enforcement of U.S. safe drinking water laws to poor security at Russia’s chemical weapons stockpiles. His work has helped spur new laws requiring compensation for sick nuclear weapons workers, fire protections in nursing homes, and safety testing for school lunch food. In 2012, Eisler and a USA TODAY colleague shared the Barlett and Steele Silver Award for investigative reporting and the duPont-Columbia Award for digital journalism. He’s been honored previously with awards from the National Press Club, the National Press Foundation and other national journalism organizations. Eisler also lectures for college classes and volunteers as a high school instructor for the News Literacy Project in Washington, DC.
Sarah Cohen joined the reporting staff of The New York Times in 2012 after three years as the Knight Professor of the Practice at Duke University. She previously worked as a database editor and reporter for The Washington Post, where she shared in the Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting and other awards. At Duke, she founded the Reporters’ Lab, which researches and develops tools and techniques for investigative reporting. She is also a member of the board of Investigative Reporters and Editors.
Mark Feldstein is the Richard Eaton Professor of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Maryland. Feldstein spent twenty years as an award-winning on-air investigative correspondent at CNN, ABC News, and various local television stations. He has been beaten up in the U.S., detained and censored by government authorities in Egypt, and escorted out of the country under armed guard in Haiti. His exposés led to resignations, firings, multi-million dollar fines, and prison terms, and earned dozens of journalism prizes, including two George Foster Peabody medallions, the Columbia-Dupont baton, the Edward R. Murrow broadcasting award, and nine regional Emmys. Feldstein has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals; his recent book “Poisoning The Press” has received widespread critical acclaim and earned top academic awards for research. He is regularly quoted as a media analyst by leading outlets in the US and abroad and has testified as an expert witness in court and before Congress on First Amendment issues.
Gary Fields covers criminal justice issues for The Wall Street Journal. He previously covered criminal justice for USA Today and The Washington Times. Fields began his career as a sports writer at the Nachitoches (La.) Times. In 1997, he was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. Other awards include the National Press Foundation “Feddie” Award; the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting Award; the Deadline Club Omnibus Award for Minority Issues; the Thurgood Marshall Journalism Award for covering death penalty issues; the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism; and the National Alliance of Mental Illness Journalism Award.
James V. Grimaldi is a senior writer for The Wall Street Journal. He joined the Journal in 2012 after more than a dozen years at The Washington Post, where he won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for uncovering the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. He worked on “The Hidden Life of Guns” series, which won the 2010 Freedom of Information Medal awarded by Investigative Reporters and Editors. He previously worked for The Seattle Times, The Orange County Register and The San Diego Tribune. He has been a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economics Journalism at Columbia University and a Ferris Professor at Princeton University. A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, he is past president of Investigative Reporters and Editors. He is a volunteer contributor to The News Literacy Project.
Mencimer covers legal affairs and domestic policy in Mother Jones’ Washington bureau. She is the author of Blocking the Courthouse Door: How the Republican Party and Its Corporate Allies Are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. She appeared in the documentary “Hot Coffee,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and was based in part on her book. She is a contributing editor of the Washington Monthly, a former investigative reporter at the Washington Post and senior writer at the Washington City Paper. She was nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2004 for a Washington Monthly article about myths surrounding the medical malpractice system. In 2000, she won the Harry Chapin Media award for reporting on poverty and hunger, and her 2010 story in Mother Jones on the collapse of the welfare system in Georgia and elsewhere won a Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. She is a graduate of the Loyola Journalist Law School program and a former Alicia Patterson Fellow, and has been a lecturer at Georgetown University.
Ron Nixon is a Washington Correspondent for the New York Times who covers the consumer beat, including Amtrak, the Postal Service, food and agriculture policy, airline, consumer and highway safety. He previously worked for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Roanoke Times. Nixon was also training director for Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has covered stories ranging from the U.S. role in the Arab Spring to companies violating the Iran Sanctions Act to members of Congress trying to bypass the ban on earmarks. Nixon teaches advanced reporting and writing at Howard University in Washington, DC.
David B. Ottaway received a BA from Harvard, magna cum laude, in 1962 and a PhD from Columbia University in 1972. He worked 35 years for The Washington Post as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, Africa and Southern Europe and later as a national security and investigative reporter in Washington before retiring in 2006. He has won numerous awards for his reporting at home and abroad and was twice nominated a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Ottaway was a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1979-80 and again in 2005-06 and is currently a Senior Scholar there. His most recent book, published in November 2008, was The King’s Messenger: Prince Bandar bin Sultan and America’s Tangled Relationship with Saudi Arabia. He is currently working on a book regarding the changes underway in the Arab world.
RICARDO SANDOVAL PALOS
Ricardo Sandoval Palos is a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch. Previously he was an editor at the Center for Public Integrity. Before that he was assistant city editor and weekend city editor at the Sacramento Bee, where his reporters covered health, transportation and environmental issues. Sandoval Palos also was a Latin America correspondent, based in Mexico City, for the Dallas Morning News and Knight Ridder Newspapers. He has written extensively about drug trafficking and investigated the serial murders of women in Ciudad Juarez. Sandoval Palos’ career has spanned three decades and includes award-winning coverage of the savings and loan scandal and the deregulation of public utility companies. His list of awards includes the Overseas Press Club and the Inter-American Press Association, for “Lost in Transit,” a probe of profiteering in the international remittance business, and the Gerald Loeb prize for business journalism. He co-authored of the biography “The Fight in the Fields: Cesar Chavez and the Farmworkers Movement” published by Harcourt. He was born in Mexico and raised in San Diego, California.
Alicia C. Shepard is a visiting professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies. Previously, Shepard served four years as ombudsman for NPR. She is the author of Woodward & Bernstein: Life in the Shadow of Watergate (2006, Wiley), and co-author of Running Toward Danger: Stories Behind the Breaking News of 9/11 (2002). She has contributed to the American Journalism Review, The New York Times, Washingtonian Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Newark Star Ledger and The Washington Post. Her work was recognized three times with the National Press Club’s top media criticism prize. She was a staff reporter with The San Jose (CA) Mercury News from 1982 to 1987. Shepard is a judge for the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and is on the board of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.
Tisha Thompson is the Investigative Reporter for WRC-TV (NBC) in Washington, DC. A fifth-generation journalist, Thompson graduated with honors from Princeton University before receiving her Master’s degree from the University of Missouri Graduate School of Journalism. While in school, she interned with MTV News and Chief White House Correspondent Sam Donaldson at ABC News. Thompson has covered practically every kind of story from national political conventions to F-5 tornados for WTTG-TV in Washington, DC, WMAR-TV in Baltimore, MD, WPSD-TV in Paducah, KY and KOMU-TV in Columbia, MO.
Thompson has been named “Best Reporter” in every market she’s worked in, including the Best Reporter Emmy in Washington, DC and the 2011 Gracie Award for Best Reporter in the nation. Honored with more than 85 national and regional awards, she is the recipient of 11 Emmy awards and multiple National Headliner, AP and Edward R. Murrow awards. She received SPJ’s national Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service and is a two-time Investigative Reporters & Editors finalist. Thompson has received several civic awards and, in honor of her public service, was a “Kentucky Colonel,” the state’s highest civilian honor.
Margaret Engel is executive director of the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the nation’s second oldest journalism foundation. She directs a program that awards fellowships to some of the country’s best reporters, editors and photographers. She also served as managing editor of the Newseum, the nation’s only interactive museum of news. She is a board member of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and was a reporter and editor at The Washington Post. She formerly reported on state government and health issues for the Des Moines Register, before being named to the paper’s Washington bureau. She began her career at The Lorain Journal.
George Lardner, formerly an investigative reporter on the national staff of The Washington Post, is an associate at the Center for the Study of the Presidency, working on a history of the presidential pardon power. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for articles on the murder of his youngest daughter, Kristin, which he later expanded into a book, “The Stalking of Kristin.” He joined The Post in 1963 and has covered presidential campaigns, Mafia trials, assassinations and political scandals ranging from Iran-contra to the CIA and the FBI. He has also written numerous national magazine articles.
Charles Lewis is a distinguished journalist in residence and executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University in Washington. A former producer for both ABC News and CBS News 60 Minutes, Lewis founded and for 15 years was executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative reporting organization, where he was co-author of five books, including the bestseller, The Buying of the President 2004 (HarperCollins). In 1998, he was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and in 2004 received the PEN USA First Amendment award.
Deborah Nelson is the Carnegie visiting professor at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. She joined the University of Maryland faculty in 2006, after five years as Washington investigative editor for the Los Angeles Times. She also reported for The Washington Post, The Seattle Times and The Chicago Sun-Times and served as president of Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE). Her national awards include the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative reporting. She is author of “The War Behind Me: Vietnam Veterans Confront the Truth about U.S. War Crimes” (Basic Books 2008).
Clarence Page writes a column for the Chicago Tribune that is syndicated in about 150 newspapers around the country. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1989. In 1972 he was a member of a Chicago Tribune task force that was awarded the Pulitzer for its investigation of vote fraud.