After four decades writing and editing stories designed to make a difference in readers’ lives, Kathy Best moved to academia in June 2019 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 three national awards in professional contests. Students in the center have gone on to win national awards for coverage of homelessness, the failure to protect legal migrant workers during the pandemic and the role of white-owned newspapers across the U.S. in inciting lynchings and racial terror during the Jim Crow era.
Best was previously the executive editor of The Seattle Times, which she helped lead to two Pulitzer Prizes. She was also the editor of the Missoulian in Missoula, Montana, and a top editor at The Sun in Baltimore, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
She met her late husband, Andrew Schneider, while working in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau covering Congress and national politics. Andrew’s work inspired her to lead the Howard Center to make sure journalism has more reporters who know how to dig deeply and watch out for those without power.