Sunday, July 5, 2009

Will the last investigative journalist out please turn off the light?

Last night I read Tim Connor's really fascinating interview with the last investigative reporter the Spokesman-Review had: Karen Dorn Steele, who took an early retirement in March, as did her cohort Bill Morlin.

I read Karen Dorn Steele's newspaper stories on Hanford radiation experiments when I was in college. I have a thyroid disorder, and Spokane is in the shadow of the giant cloud(s) of radioactive iodine purposely released there. She made that story public in spite of, as she details, an unsupportive editor, a visit from the FBI, and an atmosphere of mandatory support for government operations at Hanford.

We were just trying to find out what the history of accidents was and the history of environmental pollution had been at Hanford. And so, I’m a stubborn Norwegian. I just kind of got my back up really. First of all I didn’t think an FBI agent should be sauntering into a newsroom. That’s not proper. It sends a chilling message. And secondly, it made me angry.