Welcome to I-News: The public-service journalism arm of Rocky Mountain PBS.
I-News produces in-depth, research-based journalism that many newsrooms couldn’t do alone. We collaborate with the most respected news outlets to deliver this journalism to millions of Coloradans. Together with our media partners, we’re filling a void in serious public-service journalism, bringing more in-depth news to the places you already look for your news: your newspaper, radio, television, computer and digital device. We produce journalism that makes a difference. Here are some recent examples:
- More doctors now disclose drug company payments after I-News helped Colorado Public Radio report hidden funding, allowing patients to make better-informed decisions.
- University and law enforcement officials do more to protect students after I-News helped Rocky Mountain PBS and other media report that some schools withheld information about assaults on campus.
- Lawmakers changed tax law after I-News helped The Denver Post reveal that movie stars and developers were getting tax breaks meant for farmers and ranchers.
- A new state law was passed to close legal loopholes after I-News uncovered dangerous and illegal treatment of hazardous electronic waste unknown even to regulators.
- The Colorado State Board of Education toughened standards for online schools after I-News helped EdNews and other partners show that online elementary and high schools get millions in tax money even though half their students leave within a year.
I-News reports on issues of statewide importance and local impact. Our specialty is turning complex information into compelling multimedia stories – so citizens can make better-informed decisions. Our focus is high-impact, investigative journalism with an emphasis on data analysis, statistical analysis, data visualization and public records research. These are skills most newsrooms currently lack. However, these are skills that are urgently needed to produce public service journalism. Traditional news sources face tighter resources and more deadlines. They don’t always have the time or specialized skills to do it all. I-News is there to help.
I-News also is helping train the next generation of investigative reporters and create the future of news. We work with journalism students at the University of Colorado and train high school journalists at our summer Investigative Journalism Institute. You can join in, too. Share your insights through our Public Insight Network. Help sustain quality journalism with a donation to I-News. Suggest a story. Contact uswith any questions, ideas or suggestions.
Laura Frank is the executive director of I-News, the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network. Laura is a Denver native who spent 20 years at newspapers, radio and public television around the country, specializing in in-depth reporting that requires data analysis and deep public records research. She has trained hundreds of journalists for more than a dozen media organizations, including the nation’s largest newspaper company (Gannett). Her work has been recognized in both broadcast and print, including a regional Emmy for documentary production in 1990 and as a top-10 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 at the Rocky Mountain News.
Laura started her first business at age 16 and began syndicating reports to radio and newspapers that same year. She is a Knight Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the USC Marshall School of Business, and serves on the board of directors of the national Investigative News Network.
Jim Trotter is highly regarded in Colorado journalism and beyond. He was the senior editor for investigative and enterprise journalism at the Rocky Mountain News when it closed in 2009. Since then, he has been with the Associated Press, responsible for enterprise journalism in 13 western states.
Jim has edited Pulitzer Prize-winning articles and an Emmy-winning documentary. He has been a columnist at a major metropolitan newspaper and been editorial director for the public affairs show of a major metropolitan television station. He was winner of the Dart Society’s 2010 Mimi Award, recognizing both his compassion and leadership.
He is uniquely qualified to help I-News work with print, broadcast and digital news media across Colorado to produce important public-service journalism. Jim’s hiring is made possible through a generous grant from The Colorado Health Foundation.
Burt Hubbard is the editorial director of I-News. Burt is well-known in the journalism world for his data analysis skills. His numerous awards include two prestigious Best of The West awards, a national education award for investigative reporting, and Reporter of the Year in Colorado.
He also was a top-10 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in local reporting for the Rocky Mountain News and is enshrined in the Scripps Howard Journalism Hall of Fame. Burt has taught computer-assisted reporting and internet research to graduate students for 11 years at the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication. For the past three years he has led research symposiums for journalists and citizens throughout Colorado on behalf of the university. Burt recently left the Denver Post to join I-News.
Kevin Vaughan, senior reporter at the I-News Network, is an award-winning journalist and author. Over his 25-year career he has written for the Fort Morgan Times, the Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post and has covered some of the state’s biggest stories. Among them have been the tragedy at Columbine High School, Colorado’s horrific wildfire season of 2002, the Colorado Rockies’ 2007 World Series run, and the fight by Tim Masters to overturn his conviction in the murder of Peggy Hettrick.
He is a 1986 graduate of Metropolitan State College, and his work has been honored numerous times. His 2007 Rocky Mountain News series, “The Crossing,” which examined the lifelong reverberations of Colorado’s worst traffic accident, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing. He is the co-author (with Jim Davidson) of the best-seller “The Ledge: An Adventure Story of Friendship and Survival on Mount Rainier.”
Joe Mahoney was a staff photographer and then Assistant Director of Multimedia for the Rocky Mountain News from 1999 until the paper closed in 2009. He also teaches photojournalism and social documentary as an adjunct faculty member at Metro State College in Denver and has been a coach at the National Press Photographers Association’s “Multimedia Immersion” and the “NewsVideo” workshops.
Mahoney won an Emmy in 2010 in the Topical Documentary category for his work as associate producer on “Final Edition.” He was part of photo teams that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography in 2000 and 2003 covering the Columbine school shootings and wildfires in Colorado. During his time with the News, Mahoney covered a wide range of stories from the Columbia space shuttle crash, presidential campaigns and both national political conventions of 2008, Stanley Cup championships, World Series as well as many local issues. Before joining the News, Mahoney spent nine years with The Associated Press.
Cynthia Hessin host and executive producer of the Colorado State of Mind, the weekly news discussion series on Rocky Mountain PBS, where I-News’ original reporting appears regularly. She wrote and narrated the recent I-News documentary, "Losing Ground: The Cliff Effect," about a little-known trap in Colorado public assistance law which ensnares many single parents.
Hessin is a Denver area native and previously worked as a reporter in two other local television newsrooms, KCNC and KMGH. Her honors include regional and national recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Association for Women in Communications, and the Colorado Broadcasters Association, as well as six regional Emmy awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) for writing, producing and performance. She has been active in related professional organizations, including a term as the first female president of the Denver Press Club (1996-97).
Kristin Jones joined I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS as health reporter in September 2013. Kristin's investigative reporting on health and justice has won national awards, including the Robert F. Kennedy Award for public service journalism and the Dart Center Award for reporting on trauma. Before joining I-News, Kristin covered business for the real-time news desk of The Wall Street Journal. Kristin has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism from Columbia University, where she was a fellow at the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism. She grew up in Colorado.
I-News is a founding member of the national Investigative News Network.
This national group includes nonprofit investigative journalism organizations from across the nation — from Voice of San Diego to the Center for Public Integrity, from NPR and PBS to the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.
Collaborating on both reporting and the business of operating a nonprofit, network members are able to leverage resources and make their dollars — and their reporting — go farther.
Board of Directors
John Temple, president.
John Temple is the managing editor for The Washington Post’s local audience, including its Metro section and sports and arts coverage. Prior to holding that position, John was editor of Honolulu Civil Beat an entrepreneurial digital news startup in Honolulu launched by the founder of eBay.
John is the former editor, president and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News. Under his leadership, the newspaper won four Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other national journalistic awards. He also served the E.W. Scripps Co., owner of the Rocky, as vice president/news of the newspaper division.
Paul Voakes, treasurer. Paul is the former dean of the University of Colorado School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Boulder. His PhD is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his research and teaching specializations are in media law and ethics and math/statistics for journalism. He is a former op-ed columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, and the author of several books and multiple journal articles.
Brant Houston, secretary. Brant is chairman of the board of directors for the national Investigative News Network, a coalition of nonprofit journalism organizations, and coordinator for the Global Investigative Journalism Network, which he co-founded in 2000. For more than a decade, Brant was the executive director of the nonprofit Investigative Reporters and Editors, a 3,500-member organization. He was an award-winning investigative reporter for 17 years. He currently holds the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois College of Media in Champaign-Urbana.
William Weintraub, at-large member. Bill is executive in residence at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado. He has been a senior executive for such companies as Proctor & Gamble, Kellogg, Tropicana and Coors. In his various corporate roles, he has led brand management, market research, sales, R&D, ethnic marketing, new product development and corporate communications efforts, sometimes managing budgets close to a billion dollars. He has served on the boards of other local organizations, including the United Way and the American Red Cross, and serves on the Advisory Board for the CU School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Colorado State University Business School board.
Laura Frank, executive director of I-News, is an ex officio member of the I-News board.
Major Funders of I-News
Learn more about our major funders here.
- John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
- The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation
- The Colorado Health Foundation
- McCormick Foundation
- The Fund for Investigative Journalism
- The Fund for Environmental Journalism
- Brett Family Foundation
- The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County
- The Denver Foundation
- The French-American Foundation
9NEWS and I-News at Rocky Mountain PBS sign multi-year cooperative agreement joining 9Wants to Know with I-News, creating Colorado’s premier broadcast investigative news unit.