About The Board

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The Board  is the policy-making and oversight body of AIIJ. Members are Brett Blackledge, Brant Houston, Mark Kelly, Jerome Lanning, Carol Nunnelley, Emily Jones Rushing, and Odessa Woolfolk.

Brant Houston, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting in the department of journalism at the University of Illinois. Prior to becoming the Knight Chair in 2007, he served for more than a decade as the executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and a professor at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Before joining IRE, he was an award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers. Houston was part of the newsroom staff of The Kansas City Star that won a Pulitzer Prize for its work on the 1981 walkway collapse at the city’s Hyatt Regency Hotel.

Houston is chair of the board of directors of Institute for Nonprofit News, a coalition of nonprofit journalism centers he helped found. He is author of “Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide” and “The Investigative Reporter’s Handbook.”

Houston’s grandparents lived in Birmingham’s College Hills neighborhood, and he was a visitor to the city during his growing-up years.

Brett Blackledge, Government and Investigations Editor at The Naples Daily News in Florida, won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting while working with The Birmingham News in 2007. His Pulitzer Prize-winning work detailed nepotism and cronyism in Alabama’s two-year college system. The series also earned Blackledge a national public service award from Associated Press Media Editors.

Blackledge began his 28-year career as a journalist in 1986 with The Associated Press and later joined the Washington bureau of AP as a national writer focusing on investigative and enterprise projects. At the Washington bureau, he worked with an AP team that received a Scripps Howard Foundation award for coverage of a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

Prior to moving to Naples in 2014, Blackledge was Public Service and Investigations Editor at The News Journal in Wilmington, Delaware.

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