State Integrity 2015 reporters

The State Integrity Investigation is a comprehensive assessment of state government accountability and transparency. The Center for Public Integrity collaborated with 50 state-based reporters, using their extensive research by reporters to grade and rank the states based on existing laws and analysis of how well they are implemented.


Virginia Martin has been an editor or reporter in Alabama for more than 30 years. She served as political editor, state editor, health editor and assistant metro editor for The Birmingham News, and for several years coordinated legislative coverage by the The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times and the (Mobile) Press-Register. She currently is a freelance editor and writer in Birmingham.


Austin Baird is a political reporter for KTUU-TV news in Anchorage.


Evan Wyloge is a senior reporter at the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.


David Ramsey is a freelance writer and reporter whose work has been published in the Arkansas Times, The New Republic, The Oxford American, Slate, Men’s Journal, The Week, Hemispheres, and elsewhere. He was named to the Washington Post‘s 2015 list of best state political reporters; Politico wrote that his “reporting for the Arkansas Times on his state’s unusual Medicaid expansion approach set the tone of a national conversation.”


Robert B. Gunnison reported in Sacramento for 25 years, first for United Press International and then the San Francisco Chronicle. He retired as director of school affairs at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.


Corey Hutchins is a journalist in Colorado and a correspondent for Columbia Journalism Review’s United States Project, where he focuses on local news around the country. Before moving to Colorado, he was an alt-weekly reporter in South Carolina who worked on the State Integrity Investigation in 2012 and was twice named journalist of the year by the SC Press Association in the weekly division. 


Jenifer Frank, a freelance writer and editor, has worked at daily newspapers most of her professional life. She held a number of leadership positions at The Hartford Courant, including news editor and editor of the Sunday magazine.  She was also editor of an online news site and co-authored a book, published by Random House, about the North’s complicity in slavery.


Jonathan Starkey works for The News Journal in Delaware, where he covers the governor’s office, the statehouse, state government agencies and statewide politics. Starkey grew up in Dover, Delaware’s capital city, and studied journalism at New York University.


Ashley Harrell is a Florida-based journalist who freelances for the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. She spent much of the last four years working as a newspaper editor in San José, Costa Rica, and has also worked as staff writer for Village Voice Media in San Francisco and South Florida. In 2013, Harrell’s story on a killer Costa Rican rodeo bull was nominated for The Livingston Award for Young Journalists.


Susanna Capelouto is an independent reporter, producer and editor living in Atlanta. Before joining the independent ranks, Susanna was an editor for CNN Radio and news director for Georgia Public Broadcasting, where she covered Georgia’s General Assembly sessions and State government. During her career, Susanna has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Georgia Bar Association and the Associated Press.


Nancy Cook Lauer earned her reporting chops as a statehouse bureau chief in Tallahassee, Florida, during the contested 2000 presidential election. Holding a master’s in information science from Florida State University and a bachelor’s in psychology from Old Dominion University in Virginia, Lauer currently covers local government for the Big Island daily newspaper West Hawaii Today and curates a daily government and political news blog, All Hawaii News.


Betsy Russell is the Boise bureau chief for The Spokesman-Review, where she covers Idaho state government and other news and also writes the “Eye on Boise” blog. She is the current president of the Idaho Press Club and also president and a founding board member of Idahoans for Openness in Government. She is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

This story is part of State Integrity 2015. How do each state’s laws and practices deter corruption, promote transparency and enforce accountability?. Click here to read more stories in this investigation.

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The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit newsroom devoted to educating the public about crucial issues in the Midwest with a special focus on corporate agribusiness and related topics such as government programs, environment and energy. Reporters Claire Everett and Robert Holly along with executive director Pam Dempsey conducted research and interviews for the State Integrity Investigation. 


Barb Berggoetz is a veteran journalist who spent more than 40 years primarily writing for newspapers, including a 30-year stint at The Indianapolis Star, where she focused on state government, education and health and fitness coverage. She now is a freelance journalist, writing mostly for magazines and websites, and an instructor for Indiana University’s Media School. 


Lauren Mills, the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism’s data analyst/reporter/assistant editor, covers topics ranging from water quality to the historical preservation of Iowa newspapers. She has a deep history with IowaWatch, beginning as a University of Iowa student in 2010 when she was among the students who helped launch it. She holds degrees in English, Journalism and Mass Communication and Spanish.


Joe Stumpe has written for newspapers and magazines in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas. He lives in Wichita, Kansas.


Ryan Alessi spent a decade covering Kentucky politics and government, first for the Lexington Herald-Leader then as managing editor and host of a daily political news program on Time Warner’s cn|2 network. Before that, Ryan reported for Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C. He is now a freelance journalist, adjunct professor and adviser to the student newspaper at Murray State University in Kentucky. 


Mark Ballard is editor of The Advocate capitol news bureau, which covers state and federal government in Louisiana. The Advocate is the largest daily newspaper in Louisiana with editions published in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans.


Dave Sherwood reports for Reuters from Maine and eastern Canada. He is also a regular contributor to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, a non-partisan, non-profit watchdog journalism group based in Hallowell, Maine. His investigative work and reporting from the U.S., Canada and Latin America has been featured in The New York Times, The Miami Herald, the Christian Science Monitor, Maine Public Radio and PRI’s The World, among others.


Miranda Spivack is a veteran reporter in Maryland who was awarded first place for local government reporting by the Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association in 2013 for a series of government accountability stories she wrote as a reporter for the Washington Post. She is a non-residential fellow at Marquette’s O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism and is working on a series of stories about state and local government secrecy.


Maggie Mulvihill is a veteran journalist and clinical professor of journalism at Boston University.


Chad Selweski is a freelance writer from suburban Detroit. He previously worked as a political reporter for The Macomb Daily for 30 years and in that time he earned 50 journalism awards from various news organizations.


Katie G. Nelson is a freelance journalist and photographer covering human rights, health and aid accountability issues in East Africa. Prior to moving Africa, Nelson worked as a freelance political and investigative reporter for several Minnesota-based news publications. Nelson has a Master of Public Health and a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of Minnesota. You can follow her on Twitter: @katiegnelson


Anna Wolfe is a reporter with The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi. She previously worked as an investigative reporter for the Jackson Free Press, where she won two 2015 Association of Alternative Newsmedia awards and contributed to coverage of PAC transparency that earned the newspaper a 2015 first place award in Politics Reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists. A transplant from Tacoma, Wash., Wolfe graduated from Mississippi State University in 2014.

John Mott Coffey has been a news reporter covering local and state governments in Mississippi since 1983. He was based at the state Capitol for nearly 24 years. He’s currently a freelance journalist in Natchez, Mississippi.


Erin Richey is a freelance data journalist reporting on technology, business, and fraud from St. Louis. She tweets at @erincrichey.


Sarah Jane Keller is an award-winning freelance journalist covering government accountability and natural resources. Her work has appeared in High Country News, VICE News, New Scientist, and others. Follow her on Twitter @sjanekeller.


Dan Moser has spent his entire career in Nebraska, much of it as a newspaper reporter and writer. He also worked in communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and currently is a freelance writer/editor and NET Radio host for NPR’s “All Things Considered.”


Felicia Mello is a freelance journalist based in Las Vegas.

Brendan Riley had a 39-year career as a political writer for the Associated Press. Most of his AP time was in Nevada, based in Carson City. Now retired, Riley is an election-season consultant for AP and also has held interim editor positions at two Nevada newspapers.

New Hampshire

Ted Siefer was a reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader from 2010 to 2015, during which time he covered the statehouse and city hall in Manchester. He’s a correspondent for the Reuters news agency and a contributor to the Boston Globe, NHPR and other outlets. He previously worked in Israel and Kosovo, conflict zones that he says helped prepare him to cover politics in the Granite State. 

New Jersey

Ian T. Shearn produced several award-winning investigative articles as editor and reporter for the Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2005. He’s now a freelance journalist specializing in corporate accountability and runs a media consulting business, the Gumption Group.

New Mexico

Gwyneth Doland is a multimedia reporter covering state government for New Mexico PBS, KUNM and New Mexico in Depth. She also teaches journalism at the University of New Mexico. Gwyneth was previously the executive director of the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government, the editor of The New Mexico Independent and a staff writer for the Santa Fe Reporter and Weekly Alibi.

New York

Matt Krupnick is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. His work from Mexico and the United States has appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, Hechinger Report, Times Higher Education, PBS NewsHour, TIME and other publications. He previously covered higher education for the San Jose Mercury News and Bay Area News Group. 

North Carolina

Bill Arthur is a former reporter and editor with Bloomberg News, where he covered a number of subjects in Washington, DC. Before that he was Washington Correspondent for the Charlotte Observer, where he covered many of the leading state issues and personalities, including Jesse Helms, Terry Sanford and others. He is a graduate of Duke University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

North Dakota

Tu-Uyen Tran is a newspaper reporter in Fargo, N.D. He has written about local and state politics and higher education since beginning his journalism career in North Dakota in late 1999. A University of Washington alumnus, he is originally from Seattle.


Darrel Rowland has been public affairs editor of The Columbus Dispatch since 1999. He supervises coverage of state and federal government and politics, conducts the Dispatch Poll and has been covering Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign. A member of IRE since the late 1970’s, Rowland has won more than 100 awards.


Cary Aspinwall is a staff writer and the creative director at The Frontier, a Tulsa-based digital media company devoted to investigative journalism. She earned numerous awards during 15 years in the newspaper business, writing everything from features to investigations into Oklahoma’s criminal justice system. In 2015, she was recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting. 


Lee van der Voo is a Portland-based journalist and a staff writer for InvestigateWest in Oregon. She is a former Alicia Patterson Foundation fellow. Her work has received support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, Fund for Environmental Journalism, and Investigative Reporters and Editors.


Marianne Lavelle is a journalist who covers law, environment, science, and business for National Geographic, Science and other publications. She has won the Polk Award, the Investigative Editors and Reporters Award, and numerous other honors. She is based in Washington, D.C. and is serving as Science Writer in Residence at Ursinus College in Pennsylvania for the 2015-16 academic year.

AmyJo Brown is a Pittsburgh-based reporter and editor. She specializes in enterprise and investigative reporting on politics and the business of government at the local level. A Pittsburgh native, she returned to her hometown in 2011, where she is continuing her commitment to local journalism as founder and editor of War Streets Media.

Rhode Island

Mike Stanton teaches journalism at the University of Connecticut and, before that, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for The Providence Journal in Rhode Island, where he still lives. He is the author of The Prince of Providence, a New York Times bestselling biography of the felonious ex-mayor Buddy Cianci, and is writing a biography of former heavyweight boxing champion Rocky Marciano for Henry Holt, Unbeaten: Rocky Marciano’s Fight For Perfection In A Crooked World.

South Carolina

Rodney Welch is a freelance journalist based near Columbia.

South Dakota

Seth Tupper is a South Dakota native and graduate of South Dakota State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He works as an enterprise reporter at the Rapid City Journal and lives in Rapid City with his wife and two children. His honors include the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award from the South Dakota Newspaper Association and the 2014 National Public Notice Journalism Award from the Public Notice Resource Center.


Sheila Burke is a veteran journalist based in Nashville, who concentrates her reporting on legal issues. She has previously worked for The Tennessean newspaper and the Associated Press. Burke was also part of the State Integrity Investigation in 2012. 


David Montgomery is an Austin journalist with nearly 50 years of experience, including 20 years as a Washington bureau chief for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and 15 years as Texas state capitol bureau chief for the Star-Telegram and the Dallas Times Herald. Montgomery has also served as a Moscow correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and reported in the Washington bureaus of Knight Ridder and McClatchy Newspapers. 


Joel Campbell is a freelance reporter and professor in journalism at Brigham Young University.


Jon Margolis, the former chief national political correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and author of The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, is the political columnist for the VT Digger website and a special correspondent for Vermont PBS’s website. He has also taught at the University of Vermont and Lyndon State College. A graduate of Oberlin College, Margolis served in the U.S. Army and lives in northeastern Vermont.


Nancy Madsen has worked as a reporter at daily newspapers in New York and Minnesota and at PolitiFact Virginia. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Wheaton College and a master’s degree at Syracuse University.

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Kyung Song is associate editor of Aerospace America. She joined the magazine in 2015 after 16 years at The Seattle Times, for which she worked as a Washington correspondent and a reporter on the aerospace and healthcare beats. Song began her journalism career as a business writer and editor for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky.

West Virginia

Retired newspaper editor Eric Newhouse won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for a yearlong series of stories on alcoholism that later became his first book: “Alcohol, Cradle to Grave.” He has also published “Faces Combat: PTSD TBI,” and blogs on veterans’ issues for Psychology Today.


Patricia Simms worked as a reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison for more than 40 years, covering politics and the legislature for much of that time. She was part of a team that was named a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist for breaking news. She earned a masters degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and served as a VISTA volunteer in Newark, New Jersey before that.


A native Alaskan, Brielle Schaeffer is now based out of Jackson, Wyoming. She’s written for several publications in Wyoming including the Jackson Hole News Guide, Images West Magazine and Jackson Hole Magazine.

Peer reviewers

Adam Newmark, Colin Moore, Tom Crawford, Philip Eil, Luis Toro, Dana Heupel, Pam Wilmot, Paul Petterson, Gavin Geis, Peter St. Cyr, Dan Neal, Paul Egan, Deborah Fisher, Jason Noble, James Brandt, John Hult, William March, James Foster, Ernie Dumas, Jason Hancock, James Dawson, Mike McCabe, Jason Mercier, David Solomon, Jack Hoffman, Mark Neikirk, Jessica Robinson, Joey Senat, Kimberly Hoagland, Stephanie Trapnell, Randy Dryer, Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, Dave Damore, Nathan Mitchell, Dana Harsell, Micah Sifry, Joe Adams, Warren Bolton, Ingrid Reed, Jessica Terrell, Paul E. Kostyu, Steven Dornfeld, Nicole Kelly Lohrmann, Phil Kabler, Christopher Borick, Dennis Swibold, Dan Barr, Tim Carpenter, Geoff Pender, Alexandra Gutierrez.

Project manager

Nicholas Kusnetz.

This story is part of State Integrity 2015. How do each state’s laws and practices deter corruption, promote transparency and enforce accountability?. Click here to read more stories in this investigation.

Copyright 2015 The Center for Public Integrity. This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.