Katches, a native Californian who spent 20 years as a reporter and editor covering major issues in the state, will be leaving the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which he joined in 2006 to help start a nine-person investigative reporting team there.
Since joining the Journal Sentinel his team has won numerous national awards for investigative reporting including the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for a story that exposed a $50 million Milwaukee County pension scandal. That same year, the Journal Sentinel was named “Innovator of the Year” by the Associated Press Managing Editors for its watchdog work. This year, another project he managed, a series that exposed the failures of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration to protect the public from dangerous household chemicals was a Pulitzer finalist in investigative reporting. That story also won the George Polk Award, the John B. Oakes award, and a Scripps-Howard National Journalism Award.
Before moving to Milwaukee, Katches worked at the Orange County Register, where he twice directed projects that were Pulitzer finalists, including one in public service. In 2001, he was part of a reporting team that won the Gerald Loeb, Sigma Delta Chi and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) awards for detailing rising profits from the human tissue trade.
“We are very pleased to have Mark Katches direct our editorial team for this new California reporting initiative,” said Robert Rosenthal, CIR’s Executive Director. “He is a first-rate journalist with a long track record of leading award-winning teams that produce high impact stories in innovative ways.”
“Katches’ deep roots in California, as well as his extensive experience as a journalist reporting and investigating critically important California issues, will help us develop new strategies for informing and engaging Californians about crucial issues that affect them in their daily lives and their communities,” said Louis Freedberg, Director of CIR’s California reporting venture.
Katches served on the board of IRE from 2004 to 2008. He continues to oversee IRE’s mentorship program. He taught journalism as an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California from 2003 through 2006.
“California is a state facing immense challenges,”Katches said. “It has never been more important for a strong watchdog team to hold those in power accountable and to shine a light on important issues facing citizens of the state. I’m thrilled about returning home to help build and manage a team that will do just that.”
For more information about CIR’s California reporting initiative, read the announcement: “Powerful Journalism to Help Solve Key Issues in California.”