Speaker, Saturday, September 18
After four decades writing and editing stories designed to make a difference in readers’ lives, Kathy Best moved to academia in June to train the next generation of investigative reporters as the inaugural director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland. The center’s first project on the impact of global warming on the urban poor, a collaboration with NPR, won the National Press Foundation’s innovative storytelling award. Best was the editor of the Missoulian in Missoula, Mont., from 2016 to 2019. She previously worked as executive editor and managing editor of The Seattle Times and as a top editor for the Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She was also a reporter for the Post-Dispatch in Washington, D.C., where she met her late husband, Andrew Schneider. At the Times, she led the staff to two Pulitzer Prizes for coverage of breaking news, including real-time reporting of the manhunt for a gunman who shot four police officers. The staff also won two prestigious Online Journalism Awards under her watch for a project on ocean acidification across the Pacific and coverage of a devastating mudslide in Oso, Washington, that claimed 43 lives, which also won a Pulitzer.