Tom Knudson
Credit: The Sacramento Bee

Tom Knudson

Tom Knudson

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Nationally recognized reporter Tom Knudson is joining The Center for Investigative Reporting, increasing our ability to expose regional, national and international environmental threats.

As a member of the projects team at The Sacramento Bee for more than two decades, Knudson distinguished himself in the once-crowded field of environmental reporting with his unique investigations and fluid writing style. His work there ranged from Environment Inc., about questionable fundraising practices by environmental groups, to State of Denial, which exposed how California’s conservation policies and consumption practices collide, damaging other parts of the world.

“Tom is a skillful, deeply passionate investigative reporter and a remarkable narrative storyteller,” said Robert Salladay, CIR’s editorial director. “As a native of Northern California, I’ve followed Tom’s work for years as he’s illuminated some of the most critical environmental threats to this state and the world. We’re thrilled he can join our team and continue this important work.”

CIR measures its success in many ways, with a strong focus on the results of our investigations. Knudson’s work has led to many changes over the years, including swaying state and federal policy and land management decisions. It also has drawn many of journalism’s top accolades, including two Pulitzer Prizes.

State of Denial won the 2004 global Reuters-IUCN Media Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting. Recently, he received the Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism for The Killing Agency, which disclosed lethal predator control practices by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.

In 1992, The Bee was recognized with the Pulitzer’s top public service award for Sierra in Peril, Knudson’s series about environmental threats to California’s Sierra Nevada range. His first Pulitzer, for national reporting, came in 1985 at the Des Moines Register for reporting on the safety and health hazards of farming.

Knudson will be part of CIR’s environmental team, led by Senior Editor Andrew Donohue, which earlier this year published a multimedia project in partnership with the Guardian US called Toxic Trail. That investigation traced the trail of unintended consequences scattered across the nation by the federal Superfund program.

“CIR is honored to have Tom join us,” said CIR Executive Director Robert J. Rosenthal. “His knowledge and the context he brings to his work are role models for the industry. His presence will ripple through CIR in a powerful and positive way and help the entire organization.

“We want him to be as ambitious and successful as he’s ever been in his career.”

Knudson comes to CIR as it expands its national reach through a new radio show, “Reveal,” which will bring investigative reporting to a wider audience through strong storytelling, deep reporting and wide public engagement. The nonprofit newsroom, based in Emeryville, California, is one of the largest investigative reporting teams in the country.

CIR’s reach is part of what attracted Knudson.

“My goal has always been to make a difference, to shed light on dark corners and policy crevasses that don’t get the attention they deserve,” he said. “I’ve always admired the spirited digging and innovation of CIR. Its emerging online presence, the expansion into radio, the linking up with national outlets create a real opportunity to bring important issues out into the public eye.”

Amy Pyle is editor in chief at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, guiding a team of editors, reporters and producers who produce unique in-depth national stories for the web, radio and video. Her primary goals are exposing wrongdoing and holding those responsible accountable, and increasing diversity in the ranks of investigative reporters. In the past year, CIR has established a fellowship program for aspiring investigative journalists of color and another for women filmmakers. Amy has worked at CIR since 2012, previously serving as a senior editor and managing editor. Rehab Racket, a collaboration with CNN that she managed on fraud in government-funded drug and alcohol rehabilitation, won the top broadcast award from Investigative Reporters and Editors. The Reveal radio version of an investigation she oversaw on an epidemic of opiate prescriptions at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs won a George Foster Peabody Award. Previously, as assistant managing editor for investigations at The Sacramento Bee, she managed “Chief's Disease,” a story about pension spiking at the California Highway Patrol, which won George Polk Award. Amy worked as a reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times for more than a decade where, as assistant city editor, she directed coverage from the parking lot of the Times’ quake-damaged San Fernando Valley office in the early morning hours after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. That work earned the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for spot news reporting. Amy has a bachelor’s degree in French from Mills College and a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.