AZCIR is a nonprofit organization dedicated to statewide investigative reporting
The Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting is an independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to statewide accountability journalism in Arizona. AZCIR’s mission is to produce, foster and promote investigative journalism through original and collaborative reporting, public events and trainings, for the betterment of our communities.
We accomplish this through innovative, interactive and in-depth investigative reporting that incorporates data analysis and visualizations, multimedia gathering for publication in all news mediums and interactive digital content such as geographic mapping and spatial analysis. We publish our content digitally on AZCIR.org and through partnerships with Arizona news organizations.
AZCIR seeks to establish itself as a voice for investigative reporting in Arizona, serving as a content producer and collaborator, as well as an organization that highlights and discusses exceptional accountability journalism in our state. We are working to build an environment of collaborative investigative journalism, by which newsrooms can combine resources for greater impact. AZCIR will serve at the core of those collaborations, in addition to providing original content for statewide distribution.
Jim Small is the executive director and editor of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. His journalism work has largely focused on state government and politics, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. He covered the complex state budget process, immigration issues, state prisons, education, the Arizona Corporation Commission, political campaigns and campaign finance matters. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations, many of which were rooted in data collection and analysis. He began his journalism career covering city government, public safety and business for a pair of community newspapers in the West Valley.
Evan Wyloge began as a journalist in 2003, and has focused on accountability and watchdog reporting, with an emphasis on data analysis, since 2008. He earned a political science degree from Northern Arizona University and a master’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University. He’s passionate about investigative reporting that has real impact and that uncovers stories that would have otherwise gone uncovered.
Devin Browne is a veteran reporter whose stories have appeared on Marketplace, the BBC Newshour, The Takeaway, and PRI’s The World; she’s also been a guest on The Madeleine Brand Show, the State of Nevada, and Bandits and Bandidos on Radio Sonora, and was was formerly the Phoenix correspondent for The Fronteras Project, a collaboration between seven NPR stations covering immigration and demographics across the Southwest. In 2014, Browne founded The Sasabe Republic, a bilingual narrative newspaper set in one of the migration capitals of the border, and in 2015, she wrote and directed the short film Hotel Arizona, which follows a woman as she starts a Yelp to review the polleros who bring migrants across the desert, often robbing and raping them along the way. The film premiered in fall 2016, at the Tucson Film Festival, where it was chosen as Best Narrative Short.
Valeria Fernández of Uruguay is a contributing journalist for AZCIR who brings more than a decade of experience as bilingual documentary producer covering Arizona’s immigrant community and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Her award-winning, independent reporting has taken her throughout the world, and has focused on topics ranging from migrant kidnappings to racial profiling. Fernández also contributes to CNN Spanish and Al Jazeera English, and has been published by newsrooms such as The Associated Press. In 2012, she produced the documentary “Two Americans,” which contrasts Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a 9-year-old U.S. citizen trying to stop her parents’ deportation. In 2014, she helped produce the international web documentary, “Connected Walls,” about life along the Arizona borderlands.
Tarryn Mento is a contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative reporting and a web producer for KPBS-San Diego. Prior to joining AZCIR, Tarryn was a Pulliam Fellow at The Arizona Republic and a video journalist for the national campaign “Face the Facts USA.” She completed her master’s degree at ASU’s Cronkite School, where she was a Carnegie-Knight News 21 Fellow for an investigation into food safety. She also was part of a team of student journalists who reported on the Dominican Republic’s stateless population, which was recognized by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Griselda Nevarez is a freelance journalist and part time contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. Her current freelance clients include NBCNews.com and, prior to that, Nevarez reported and wrote stories about politics with a focus on Latinos for VOXXI.com. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Arizona State University in May 2011. After graduation, she held several internships, including one with Hispanic Link News Service in Washington, D.C., where she covered national politics.
Justin Price is a contributing reporter at the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. He spent a year covering crime and other breaking news in the Phoenix metropolitan area for The Arizona Republic, and a summer in Washington, D.C. with the National Journalism Center reporting on politics and government spending. When he’s not working toward his journalism degree at Arizona State University, Price spends his time learning to code and lounging with his dog.
Perry Vandell is a contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. Perry previously covered city issues in the West Valley, and growth and development in Scottsdale for The Arizona Republic. He’s also covered topics such as the financial cost of child abuse in Arizona, and the growing need for graduates in STEM fields. Perry has a B.A. in journalism from ASU’s Cronkite School. He typically spends his free time hiking, playing video games and training his dog to not bark at every sound she hears. The latter remains unsuccessful.
Charlie Clark is a contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. He has written for The Seattle Times and is on staff with Cronkite News and the Downtown Devil. He is finishing up his undergraduate thesis focusing on a solutions journalism approach to family homelessness and will be graduating from ASU in May 2017. Following graduation, he will be participating in The New York Times Student Journalism Institute and interning for Bloomberg News.
Keely Damara is a contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting. She is currently attending Northern Arizona University, where she is completing her Bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in photojournalism and documentary studies. Prior to joining AZCIR, Keely was a production assistant and news technical director at KTVH-Helena.
Julianne Stanford is a contributing reporter for the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting and a senior at the University of Arizona, where she will be graduating with a double major in journalism and international relations in May 2017. After graduation, Julianne will be a Pulliam Fellow at the Arizona Republic for the summer of 2017. In 2016, she was an intern for The Skagway News, a small-town newspaper in Alaska. She worked as a reporter, photographer, copy editor, designer, and even helped fold and distribute the newspapers. She has previously been a media apprentice on the Border Desk at The Arizona Daily Star and a radio broadcast intern for Arizona Public Media, the National Public Radio member station in Tucson. Her journalistic interests range from community reporting to investigative reporting, with a body of work spanning from a small town’s struggling tourism industry to gun smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border. In her spare time, Julianne enjoys drinking a strong cup of black coffee, reading a good book, traveling and playing board games.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Paula Casey is the Executive Director of the Arizona Newspapers Association (ANA), a non-profit trade association. Paula has been with ANA since 1995 and the Executive Director since 2007. In addition to ANA she manages the for-profit, ANA Advertising Services, Inc. as well as the Arizona Newspapers Foundation. She is currently a member of the board of directors for the Cronkite Advisory Council, the University of Arizona Journalism School, the Arizona Interscholastic Press Association and the Arizona First Amendment Coalition. As a native of Arizona, Paula attended Arizona State University and graduated in 1978 with a degree in Finance. She’s been married to her husband, Tom, for 33 years and has two sons and two grandchildren.
Josh Hoffner has worked at The Associated Press for 15 years in several senior-level editing jobs in New York City and Phoenix, including his current position as the AP’s Southwest News Editor. Previously, Hoffner worked on the national editing desk at AP headquarters in New York from 2001 to 2005 and then as NYC metro editor from 2005 to 2009. In New York, he directed coverage of stories from the Bernard Madoff and Eliot Spitzer scandals to the Sept. 11 aftermath. He also led the team of reporters that won the APME award for breaking news for its coverage of the Hudson River splashdown of a US Airways jet. Hoffner has been sent to lead coverage of major stories such as the 2006 Winter Olympics and domestic coverage of the 2004 election, including serving as an editor at the Republican National Convention in New York. He also co-authored a book on the Jodi Arias story with a fellow AP reporter. Hoffner and his wife, Anna Jo, live in Phoenix.
Brandon Quester is the founder of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, where he served as Executive Director and Editor from 2012 through 2016. In a short time and with limited resources, he built AZCIR into an award-winning newsroom, becoming a regional hub for original and collaborative accountability journalism that is best known for its deep reporting on important public policy issues in Arizona and the Southwest. He now works as Director of Data and Visuals for inewsource, a nonprofit investigative newsroom in San Diego, California. Prior to his work with AZCIR, Quester focused his journalism career on issues such as children living along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. soldiers serving in Kuwait and Iraq and street children living in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He also worked as the Multimedia Editor for the Carnegie-Knight News21 program, a nationwide investigative journalism project headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. His work has appeared in news organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, and The Center for Public Integrity.
JOURNALISM ADVISORY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Leonard Downie Jr., the Weil Family Professor of Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is vice president at large of The Washington Post, where he was executive editor from 1991 to 2008. During his 44 years in The Washington Post newsroom, he was also an investigative reporter, editor of the local and national news staffs, London correspondent, and, from 1984 to 1991, managing editor under then executive editor Ben Bradlee. As deputy Metro editor from 1972 to 1974, Downie helped supervise the newspaper’s Watergate coverage. He oversaw the newspaper’s coverage of every national election from 1984 through 2008. During his 17 years as executive editor, The Washington Post news staff won 25 Pulitzer prizes. Downie received Bachelor’s, Master’s and honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees from The Ohio State University. He is the author of five books, including The New Muckrakers, about investigative reporting; The News About the News: American Journalism in Peril (with Robert G. Kaiser), and The Rules of the Game, a novel about Washington. He is also the author of The Obama Administration and the Press, published by the Committee to Protect Journalists in 2013, and co-author, with Columbia University Professor Michael Schudson, of The Reconstruction of American Journalism, published by The Journalism School of Columbia University in 2009. Downie is a founder and current board member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. and chairman of the board of advisers of Kaiser Health News and of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.
David Bodney | Ballard Spahr LLP
David Cuillier | Director, University of Arizona School of Journalism
Valeria Fernandez | Correspondent at CNN Español, co-director and co-producer of documentary, Two Americans
Joseph Garcia | Director of Latino Public Policy Center and Director of Communications, Morrison Institute for Public Policy
Lauren Gilger | Reporter/Host, KJZZ
Chris Herstam | Director of Government Relations, Lewis and Rocca LLP
Retha Hill | Executive Director of the Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, Cronkite School
Jack Mullins | Mesa Community College, residential faculty – journalism
Rick Rodriguez | Carnegie professor, Southwest Borderlands Initiative, Cronkite School; former executive editor and vice president of The Sacramento Bee
Dylan Smith | Editor and Publisher, Tucson Sentinel
AJ Vicens | Reporter, Mother Jones