Gordon Witkin, Ohio Wesleyan, ’77 has been Executive Editor at the Center for Public Integrity since September 2008
There he manages editorial operations for a nonprofit organization dedicated to long-form investigative journalism; supervises reporting and editing for a staff of 50 personnel; conceptualizes projects, directs reporters, acts as primary line editor and work with web/graphics team to coordinate presentation. He creates project partnerships with mainstream media organizations like the Washington Post, McClatchy Newspapers, NPR, Mother Jones and POLITICO. CPI won 72 significant journalism awards during his tenure.
He’s also worked on the Congressional Quarterly (2007-2008) as its social policy editor having supervised six reporters covering health care, legal affairs, education, housing and immigration.
From July 1981 through late 2007, he served as associate editor, senior editor, and assistant managing editor at U.S. News & World Report, beginning in bureaus in Detroit and Denver. He then moved to Washington D.C. in 1987and spent eleven years covering criminal justice. He then served as chief of correspondents after which time he served as its national affairs editor.
Gordon Witkin, Ohio Wesleyan, ’77 was recognized in March 2020 for his editorial work and supervision at the Center for Public Integrity. The work, titled Copy, Paste, Legislate,” is a collaboration with USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic, and won the 2020 Goldsmith Award for Investigative Reporting from the Kennedy School at Harvard.
“The “Copy, Paste, Legislate” series exposed how state legislators frequently proposed cookie-cutter bills shopped to them by corporations, special interest groups and lobbyists. These bills enabled the resale of defective cars, weakened smoking restrictions and aimed to enshrine hundreds of other political goals into state law. In all, this “copycat legislation” machine constitutes one of the most notable special-interest influence campaigns in America despite most people — even some lawmakers — being unaware of it. Goldsmith judges said: “This fantastic reporting sheds a light for the public and local media on the origins of legislation that gets passed in statehouses across the country.”
Reporting for this series required tremendous resources, combining the efforts of three news organizations as well as the creation of specialized data tracking tools. Public Integrity and The Arizona Republic built two trackers that use algorithms to detect similarities in language for these copy-and-paste bills. The efforts found more than 10,000 introduced from 2010 to 2018 — but the real numbers are probably higher.
excerpt from the Public Integrity website