Civil Beat Staff

Patti Epler

Patti Epler is the Editor and General Manager of Civil Beat.

Patti has been a reporter and editor since 1976. She began her career in Anchorage, Alaska, writing a column for The Anchorage Times and covering cops and courts in the frontier state at a time construction of the massive trans-Alaska pipeline was drawing thousands of young people north and opening up a new energy source for the country.

Patti moved to Hawaii in 1982 where she lived on a 41-foot sailboat in Keehi Lagoon and worked for Honolulu Magazine. She returned to Alaska in 1984 to a job covering the state’s booming oil and gas business, utilities, mining and environmental issues. In 1989, she was one of the lead reporters on the Exxon Valdez oil spill. She was also a member of the Anchorage Daily News team that won the 1989 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal For Public Service for a series on alcoholism and self-destructive behavior among Alaska Natives.

In 1990, she and her family, including a young daughter, moved to Olympia, Washington, where Patti covered politics and the Legislature for the Tacoma News Tribune. In 1997, she moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and an editor’s job at the alt-weekly, Phoenix New Times. In 2004, she became projects editor and city editor at the East Valley Tribune, at the time the Phoenix metro area’s second largest daily paper. In 2008, Patti edited and directed that paper’s series on the immigration enforcement practices of a colorful local sheriff, an effort that was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting.

She moved to the online news world in 2009, joining with other journalists to found the Arizona Guardian, a short-lived news site covering politics and government. In 2010, she returned to Alaska to work on another reporter-founded website, the Alaska Dispatch.

She was hired as Civil Beat’s deputy editor in September 2011 and was named Editor when former Editor John Temple left to take a job as managing editor of the Washington Post in April 2012.

Patti is an old-school investigative journalist in a new media world. She still values solid relationships with news sources and strong journalistic ethics. Like many of her colleagues, she’s been laid off (more than once) from what were once vibrant and thriving newspapers. She is now a true believer in online journalism and all that the internet has to offer news operations that embrace meaningful reporting and investigative and watchdog journalism to encourage community discussion of important civic and political issues. Those concepts are at the core of Civil Beat.

She’s always available to grab a cup of coffee and talk about Hawaii and story ideas.

You can follow Patti on twitter @PattiEpler. You can also email her at patti@civilbeat.org. Direct line is 808-377-0561.

Civil Beat Wins Public Service Award In Hawaii Journalism Contest Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Civil Beat Wins Public Service Award In Hawaii Journalism Contest

Civil Beat was also named best online news site for the 10th year in a row by the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

No, You’re Not Seeing Things — Civil Beat Has A New Look

No, You’re Not Seeing Things — Civil Beat Has A New Look

We’ve redesigned our homepage to make it easier to find our news content and reader engagement features.

The Pacific Just Got A Lot Smaller For Civil Beat Readers Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The Pacific Just Got A Lot Smaller For Civil Beat Readers

Introducing our new international reporter and what he hopes to accomplish with this new beat.

Fault Lines 2021: It’s A Good Time For A Reboot

Fault Lines 2021: It’s A Good Time For A Reboot

There’s so much to talk about as we emerge from the pandemic with some of the same old arguments, and plenty of new ones.

9 Hikers Cited For Trespass At Oahu’s Sacred Falls On Sunday DLNR

9 Hikers Cited For Trespass At Oahu’s Sacred Falls On Sunday

The hikers were caught by state law enforcement on the Mother’s Day anniversary of rockslides at the now-closed hiking trail that killed eight and injured dozens in 1999.

Veteran Editor Joins Civil Beat’s Team Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Veteran Editor Joins Civil Beat’s Team

Kim Gamel is our newest deputy editor. Meanwhile, John Hill is back as investigations editor.

Interisland ‘Trusted Partner’ Traveler Test Program Now In Place For Maui, Kauai Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Interisland ‘Trusted Partner’ Traveler Test Program Now In Place For Maui, Kauai

Gov. David Ige announced the new program on Saturday allowing interisland travelers to bypass the 14-day quarantine.

Honolulu Man Charged In Connection With Planned Chemical Weapons Attacks Sara Lin/Civil Beat

Honolulu Man Charged In Connection With Planned Chemical Weapons Attacks

The feds say Ethan Sandomire targeted a high-rise apartment building, a grocery store and commercial sites.

2nd Deputy Sheriff Assigned To Hawaii Lt. Gov. Has COVID-19

2nd Deputy Sheriff Assigned To Hawaii Lt. Gov. Has COVID-19

Lt. Gov. Josh Green has been in isolation since Friday.