The Utah Investigative Journalism Project was founded in 2016 as a non-profit, public service journalism and educational resource for the state and region. By partnering with newspapers and broadcast media on difficult in-depth stories, our mission is to help these institutions continue their historic role as government watchdogs and defenders of the poor and oppressed. Our secondary calling is to train and educate local journalists in the practice of investigative journalism. In this role we have provided free reporting workshops for rural papers, student journalists and major news outlets.
Board of Directors
Eric Peterson has been an investigative reporter in Utah for the past decade and gained acclaim for breaking major stories about pay-to-play corruption allegations at the Utah Attorney General’s Office years before his competition. He’s won nearly a dozen First Place awards from the Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the contest’s most competitive division. He placed third nationally in the 2014 Association for Alternative Newsmedia Awards for coverage of homelessness in Salt Lake City, a series that included time spent undercover at the local homeless shelter. He is also President of the Board of the Utah Headliners Chapter for the Society of Professional Journalists.
Edward McDonough is a longtime reporter who has worked for The Salt Lake Tribune, The Salt Lake City Weekly and newspapers in Washington and Idaho. More recently he’s been an active member of the Utah Newspaper Project, which works to preserve media diversity in the Beehive state.
Rone Tempest is a Utah-based reporter and contributor with four decades of experience including 26 years as a national and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. Winner of numerous awards including the 2004 Pulitzer Prize as part of a team covering California wildfires and the 1997 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, Rone also taught from 2000-2006 at the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism where he was an I.F. Stone fellow. In 2008 he was co-founder of the Wyoming non-profit, public policy news site WyoFile.com where he served as editor from 2008-2011.
Cindi Mansell, was employed in Municipal Government for over 30 years in the Planning and City Recorder realms. Until her retirement in the Spring of 2020, she administered the Government Records Access Management Act (GRAMA) Program for Salt Lake City Corporation (approximately 15,000 records requests annually). She served on the Utah State Records Committee from 2015-2019, and remains a Master Municipal Clerk and Certified Records Manager. In addition to UIJP, she serves on the board for the Salt Lake Chapter of the Association of Records & Information Managers (ARMA) as well as on a local water district board in her home town of South Weber. She has two daughters and loves to golf and snowmobile in her free time.
Cathy McKitrick discovered her passion for journalism in midlife, fueled by a desire to write about social justice issues and to shine a light in dark places. Born in El Paso, TX, McKitrick lived in central Ohio as a teen, then moved to Ogden, Utah in 1976 where she put down roots and raised a family. After graduating from Weber State University in 1998, she reported for the Standard-Examiner and The Salt Lake Tribune. Her coverage included state and local government, politics, poverty, healthcare, suicide, the opioid epidemic and medical cannabis.
Dan Harrie retired after 31 years as a reporter and news editor at The Salt Lake Tribune. Previously he spent five years at United Press International.
He and his wife, Billie, have three sons and twin granddaughters. They split their time between Taylorsville, Utah, and Alpine, Wyoming.
James Brown is an award-winning broadcast TV journalists. He was a featured reporter at ABC 4 Utah, and was host and producer of New Horizons a community-based television program on PBS’s KUED. As a host, writer, and producer, James has been the driving force behind several innovative and engaging national and international programs as well as being a featured voice on TV and Radio. His distinctive ability to create innovative properties has carried forward through the national launch of Living and Aging with Pride, a multimedia nonprofit which addresses the inevitability of aging and highlights the financial burdens that impact the aging communities’ quality of life.
Kamaile Tripp-Harris (Native Hawaiian) is a Community Health Worker and Health Equity Field Supervisor for the University of Utah – School of Medicine in the Division of Public Health, for the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. She is the Co-host and Producer of the Island Wave Podcast with a mission to collect all the Pacific Island experiences of Utah and build a bridge to the broader community. She is mother of four kids and originally from Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii. Kamaile currently resides in Taylorsville, Utah and works part-time for the Office of the Registrar at Western Governors University. She is a member of the Finance Team for the Pacific Island Knowledge to Action Resources, a nonprofit organization dedicated to Pacific Island Cultural Preservation, Empower Living Services and Social Change. Her background is in Mental and Behavioral Healthcare, Education, Data Management, Event Organization and Field Marketing.
Emma Penrod is an award-winning investigative science journalist based in rural Utah who covers the intersections between science, business, and government policy. Her stories have appeared in Newsweek, Sierra magazine, News Deeply, the High Country News, and in diverse local media. She is known for her deep dives and longform journalism, and is the author of two books. She has also published peer-reviewed historical research, and is founder and director of the Tooele Valley Flute Choir. In her spare time she enjoys investigating guinea pig physiology, organic gardening, and vegetarian food.
Taylor Hartman Taylor Hartman is a writer based in Salt Lake City. His work has appeared in Salt Lake City Weekly, The Salt Lake Tribune (in partnership with Fox 13 News), SLUG Magazine, Catalyst, and many more online publications. Taylor enjoys peering under rocks and behind closed doors for stories, and giving the public access to parts of life that are otherwise unseen.
Stephen Dark is a freelance writer with deep journalistic roots in Utah. He shared offices for close to a decade with UIJP founder Eric Peterson when they worked as staff writers for Salt Lake City Weekly. Since then he’s freelanced for Utah newspapers and magazines as well as The Guardian.
Sara Tabin has held a range of beats in local government and science journalism. Her work has appeared in publications including The Salt Lake Tribune, Forbes, and USA Today. She’s happiest when hiking or eating.
Ben Tecumseh Desoto has been a photographer chronicling homelessness and poverty since 1982 when he first started out as a staff photographer at the Houston Chronicle. He is a recent transplant to Ogden, Utah where he is “overjoyed to be healthy enough to be pissed off about the wicked problems of homelessness in America,” and to be able to bear witness again to those living on the streets.
Jean Welch Hill once had the greatest job of all, writing editorials for The Salt Lake Tribune. On either side of those great years, she has been an attorney, lobbyist for the common good and columnist for the lesser-known Intermountain Catholic. Jean’s love for newspapers began with the Sunday comics as a kid, expanding to the rest of the paper based on dinner-time debates about the news of the day.
Jean is a life-long Utahn and divides her time between her husband and three sons and her two dogs.
Scott and Pam Parkinson have deep roots in Ogden, a colorful northern Utah city proud of its diversity, grit, spectacular mountain views and glorious network of trails. Scott, a former marketing executive for the Bank of Utah, studied urban planning at Weber State University in the early 1970s. He and his wife Pam raised three sons, and all three grew up to become journalists/writers, a proclivity likely fostered in their childhood. They lost their oldest son in 2016. There is an endowed journalism scholarship in his name at Weber State University. Scott served on the editorial board for the Standard-Examiner for a number of years, and both he and Pam continue to support journalism as vital to maintaining a free society. When not traveling, skiing, hiking or biking, you’ll likely find them perusing the news.
Amy Maestas is a regional collaborative manager: She supports collaboratives that are part of the Solutions Journalism Network’s Local Media Project, which seeks to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. She worked for 24 years as a reporter and executive editor at The Durango Herald in Colorado and has previously worked with newspapers in Salt Lake City, including The Salt Lake Tribune. Amy is a Knight-Wallace Fellow Class of ’17 at the University of Michigan.
Jorge Fierro is a longtime member of the Utah business community, as owner of Frida Bistro and Rico Brands. He’s also deeply invested in the local community serving on numerous boards including Locals First, the Lowell Bennion Community Center for the University of Utah and the Burrito Project, an organization that delivers burritos to the homeless. He’s a proud resident of Salt Lake City’s west side where he makes his home in the Fairpark community.