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, often using data, and by training the next generation of investigative journalists.
AZCIR publishes content online at AZCIR.org, and through a distribution network of newsrooms in print and on television and radio. AZCIR releases its content under a creative commons license, meaning it’s free for other newsrooms to use with appropriate attribution.
AZCIR is funded by individual donors, foundations, fee-for-service revenue from collaborative data work with partner newsrooms, through training and corporate underwriting of events. As a matter of policy, funders exercise no control over AZCIR editorial decisions, and all funders are publicly identified.
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AZCIR Staff and Contributors
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EDITOR
Brandon Quester is the co-founder of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, where he serves as executive director and editor. 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. 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 Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Most recently he worked as the director of data and visuals for inewsource in San Diego.
Read Brandon’s stories
Amy Silverman is an award-winning writer, editor and teacher. In 2020 she is working with the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson on a year-long investigative series as part of Pro Publica’s Local Reporting Project. Silverman is a frequent contributor to KJZZ, the NPR member station in Phoenix, as well as a monthly columnist for PHOENIX magazine. As a member of the advisory board of the National Center for Disability and Journalism at ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism, she edited NCDJ’s Style Guide. She’s an adjunct professor at Phoenix College, and also co-teaches the long-running Mothers Who Write workshop at Changing Hands Bookstore. Amy is the co-founder of Fly Paper and the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies at Valley Bar in downtown Phoenix. In 2019, she and Katie Bravo edited the essay collection Bar Flies: True Stories from the Early Years. She’s also the author of “My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love and Down Syndrome,” published in 2016 by Woodbine House. Amy worked for 25 years as a staff writer and editor at New Times in Phoenix, where she was twice honored as the Arizona Press Club’s Virg Hill Journalist of the Year and also earned the Don Bolles award for investigative reporting. Amy lives in Tempe, Arizona with her husband, Ray Stern, and daughters Annabelle and Sophie.
Terry Greene Sterling
editor at large
Terry Greene Sterling is a Phoenix based journalist. Her work has appeared in many newspapers and magazines, including The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, Slate, The National Journal Magazine, Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Salon.com, High Country News, Arizona Highways, and The Guardian. She’s the winner of 54 international, national and regional journalism awards, including three Virg Hill Journalist of the Year Awards, The Don Bolles Award for Investigative Reporting, and the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Greene Sterling is writer-in-residence and affiliated faculty at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. She’s the author of “Illegal, Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone,” and is currently coauthoring a book with journalist Jude Joffe-Block. The book, under contract with the University of California Press, tells the story of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s unprecedented immigration crackdowns, the Latino-led movement that organized against him and the legal battles that culminated in the historic Trump pardon.
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Sam Kmack is an investigative reporter for AZCIR, covering a range of topics across Arizona for a yearlong fellowship supported in part by the Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship. He’s a recent graduate from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. While at USC he was an editor at the university’s student-lead newsroom, Annenberg Media, where he oversaw coverage of South L.A. In 2019 he worked on The Beacon Project, USC’s award-winning student investigative reporting team, where he reported on topics such as the admissions scandal and inequities in disability accommodations for the SAT. His work has been published in LAist, Annenberg Media and Intersections South L.A.
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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.
Read Valeria’s stories
AZCIR Board of Directors
Andy Beran spent his corporate career with Intel as an executive in finance, marketing, strategic planning and operations. His work took him around the world and he helped start up new businesses and factories for Intel as well as complete two large international acquisitions. After retiring from Intel, Andy started, grew, and sold a digital marketing and graphics business. After retiring again, Andy acquired an assisted transportation company and co-founded a ride sharing company for seniors. Andy remains active as a small business mentor with the Arizona Commerce Authority and SCORE as well as consulting for a number of international companies. Andy holds a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, an MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and is currently completing a doctoral degree program with a dissertation on the acceptance and adoption of shared autonomous vehicles by older adults.
Sarah Cohen is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and editor who serves as the Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School at Arizona State University. Before joining Cronkite, she worked as the editor of an investigative data journalism team at The New York Times, where her team’s work was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice in five years. She worked for more than a decade at The Washington Post, where she was a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting winner and a finalist for the prize in Public Service. Cohen has served as president and board member of the 6,000-member Investigative Reporters and Editors educational association for journalists, and as a board member or advisor to the Fund for Investigative Journalism and the Center for Investigative Reporting / Reveal. She splits her time between Washington, DC and Phoenix.
Hipolito Corella is a Tucson native who has practiced journalism in his hometown for 29 years at the Arizona Daily Star. Corella’s only work as a journalist outside of Tucson was about a year as a police reporter for the Albuquerque Tribune immediately after graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Arizona in 1991. An assortment of beats followed, including cops, courts, government, education and local politics. In 2002 he jumped to the editor track, joining the City Desk as an assistant editor. Corella was named Regional Editor in 2005, overseeing three weekly zoned publications until he became Metro Editor later that year. In 2013 Corella became one of three Senior Editors at the Star, overseeing local news and enterprise. He served as Interim Editor in 2016 as the organization searched for a permanent editor. Corella is married, has two adult children and spends much of his time since his newsroom’s pandemic shutdown trying to keep his two cats off his computer keyboard while working from home.
Adam Goodman, president and CEO of Goodmans Interior Structures, is the third generation to lead the family business. Following the tradition of innovation established by his father and grandfather, Adam has used his leadership roles to help Goodmans adapt to changing markets and anticipate opportunities for growth. Under Adam’s leadership, Goodmans has developed many innovative programs to give back to the community. These programs include Office Chair Hockey, Goodmans Eye for the Good Guy, AIM to Make a Difference, Rooted in Good, GoodInc, GoodART, GoodTHREADS and more. Adam has held leadership positions with the Jewish Community Center of Greater Phoenix, Young Presidents Organization, Phoenix Country Day School, CEO’s Against Cancer, Conscious Capitalism, the Jewish Community Association, First Place AZ, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Phoenix Symphony and Independent Newsmedia. Adam has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from University of Texas at Austin. He resides in Paradise Valley with his wife, Stephanie, and their three children.
Josh Hoffner has worked at The Associated Press for more than 15 years in several senior-level editing jobs in New York City and Phoenix, including his current position as the AP’s editor for national beats. 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 co-founder of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, where he serves as Executive Director and Editor. 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. 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.
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