Two senior editors will be joining Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting in April, strengthening our team at a crucial time and adding expertise on topics of critical importance.
Ziva Branstetter will oversee two key areas of coverage, both of which have taken on added significance since the November presidential election: immigration and the workplace. Branstetter serves on the board of Investigative Reporters and Editors, where she currently is vice president. A staunch advocate for transparency in government, she has served as a plaintiff in numerous open-records lawsuits.
She was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 with Cary Aspinwall for an investigation of a botched execution – one of four she witnessed as a journalist in Oklahoma.
“I am humbled and honored to join the talented staff at The Center for Investigative Reporting,” Branstetter said. “The work that CIR is doing displays all the best qualities of investigative journalism today. The staff is committed to helping those without a voice and exposing injustice, as well as telling those stories in a fresh way using today’s digital tools.”
Branstetter comes to CIR from Tulsa, Oklahoma, where she was the first editor in chief of The Frontier, an investigative newsroom she helped launch. Previously, she led the investigations and enterprise team at the Tulsa World. Work she has managed and reported led to indictments, laws, audits, the release of prisoners and the end to a practice in which police officers paid supervisors to retire early.
A two-year investigation by Branstetter and her staff resulted in the indictment and resignation of a seven-term sheriff and a massive overhaul of the sheriff’s office. She and her staff exposed civil rights abuses of inmates who have died and been injured in Tulsa’s jail. Branstetter also covered Oklahoma’s recent man-made earthquake epidemic, several deadly tornadoes and the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building.
“I’ve watched Ziva’s career with admiration since she first ran for election to the IRE board,” said Amy Pyle, CIR’s editor in chief. “She has a keen eye for a good story and does not flinch when faced with adversity. Yet she also is known for her collaborative nature – a skill set that will serve her and CIR well because of our many multiplatform partnerships around investigative news, both internally and with outside journalists.”
Marla Cone, a nationally renowned science and environmental journalist, will lead a new initiative tracking the real-life effects of the anti-science mentality that has seeped into many corners of the federal government. This project gained urgency in recent weeks, with proposals that would inflict deep cuts in the budgets of agencies charged with protecting our air, water, land, oceans and health.
Cone is the only journalist to be named a Pew marine conservation fellow, a lifetime honor usually reserved for scientists, and was a founding member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.
“Marla brings to CIR greath depth of knowledge and a deep bench of freelance writers with expertise in science, medicine and the environment, allowing us to ramp up quickly to meet the challenges ahead,” Pyle said. “We are lucky to have such a strong partner in defining this new and important focus.”
Cone most recently was senior editor of environment at National Geographic magazine, and before that, she was editor in chief of a nonprofit news organization, Environmental Health News, where she directed several multiday projects. She pioneered the environmental health beat at the Los Angeles Times. Her reporting has won two national Scripps Howard Edward J. Meeman Awards, and her book on extreme chemical contamination in the Arctic, “Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic,” was a finalist for a National Academies Communications Award.
She has taught at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she was the first Hewlett Foundation fellow for environmental journalism.
“I’m so excited to join The Center for Investigative Reporting and assemble a team to investigate conflicts between science and government,” Cone said. “What could be more critically important in this current atmosphere of falsehoods and fake news? CIR has an exemplary record for finding stories on undercovered topics that resonate with people, and I know I’m joining a team that can make a difference.
“My goal is to reveal problems that ignore or misuse science, endanger our communities and threaten the health of the public and our resources. Both science and journalism are under fire, but we will not stand down, nor will we shut up.”