You may be hearing soon from a guy named Bob Ortega.

Bob joined Civil Beat last week as our new Managing Editor. He is a veteran investigative journalist who most recently was at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, where he focused on border and immigration issues.

His work there included reporting about child migrants who flooded into Arizona from Central America, investigations into killings of Mexicans and Americans by the U.S. Border Patrol and in-depth stories on the Arizona prison system, including the Saguaro Correctional Center where Hawaii houses more than 1,000 of our most serious offenders.

The recipient of numerous national and regional journalism awards, Bob began his journalism career in Alaska before moving on to the Seattle Times and the Wall Street Journal. He’s written for many other national and international publications.

Veteran journalist Bob Ortega is Civil Beat's new Managing Editor.
Veteran journalist Bob Ortega is Civil Beat’s new Managing Editor. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

Raised in Mexico City and Kansas City, Bob’s career took him overseas when he was named a Knight International Press Fellow in 1999. He then spent a decade training journalists in 25 countries across Latin America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Eurasia.

He also taught college for a while and wrote a book, “In Sam We Trust,” an expose and history of Sam Walton and Wal-Mart.

Bob is the kind of journalist who likes to get out of the office as much as he can. He’s already hit up our reporters for a list of people he should grab for coffee and learn more about the issues that are important to Hawaii.

So be prepared for a phone call or an email in the coming weeks. You’ll probably also see him hanging around public meetings and events and we hope you will welcome him with Hawaii’s trademark aloha.

Bob’s investigative experience will help us continue to develop the kind of impact journalism Civil Beat excels at and his management and training expertise will help our reporters continue to grow.

We are also fine-tuning our editing team to better reflect areas of expertise and interest. Richard Wiens will take on the title of News Editor and will continue to run our daily news gathering effort. Eric Pape will continue in his role as Special Projects and Innovations Editor, Todd Simmons continues as Opinion Editor, and I’m still the Editor and General Manager.

In other news, you may have seen that we are now providing space on our site for public service announcements by nonprofit organizations that need some help getting the word out about events or activities. Currently, the American Lung Association in Hawaii and Family Promises of Hawaii are getting an assist for their fundraising efforts. If you represent a nonprofit that wants to inform the public about an event, drop us a note at Some restrictions apply.

Another new thing you might notice in coming weeks: advertising on some stories. We’re joining a network of national news organizations that is designed for media outlets from all over the country to share content and, yes, generate revenue. That comes from ads running on content that is widely published by all the organizations in the network. So if we decide to pick up a story from the network, it will come with an ad on it.

The network will help us broaden our coverage of issues relevant to people in Hawaii, including GMOs and food labeling, homelessness and the cost of living, which are important policy matters being considered throughout the nation.

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