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Ex-Sun editor Kathy Best named first director of investigative journalism center at Maryland's Merrill College

Kathy Best, pictured in September 2006 as The Sun's assistant managing editor, will be the first director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism.
Kathy Best, pictured in September 2006 as The Sun's assistant managing editor, will be the first director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Kathy Best, a former assistant managing editor of The Sun, will be the first director of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, the school announced Monday.

Best, currently editor of The Missoulian in Missoula, Mont., will join Merrill College this spring. She’ll help launch the Howard Center, a multidisciplinary program funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation in honor of Roy W. Howard that seeks to tell stories of national and international importance while training the next generation of watchdog reporters.

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Best started her career as a reporter, covering Washington for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after covering the Illinois legislature and state politics in Springfield and Chicago.

She became an editor at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1996, rising to assistant managing editor before returning to St. Louis as the Post-Dispatch’s assistant managing editor in 2001.

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In 2005, Best became assistant managing editor of The Sun, overseeing the Sunday newspaper and national news and leading an investigation into a failed National Security Agency anti-terrorism program.

Best joined The Seattle Times in 2007, beginning a decade-long rise that culminated in leading the newsroom to staff Pulitzer Prizes in 2012 and 2015 as managing editor and then as editor and vice president of the newspaper.

She moved to Missoula with her late husband, two-time Pulitzer winner Andrew Schneider, in 2016.

The University of Maryland, College Park was awarded a $3 million grant by the Scripps Howard Foundation to start its first investigative journalism center.

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