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.

It’s Summer And That Means The Interns Are Here Kim Gamel/Civil Beat/2022

It’s Summer And That Means The Interns Are Here

Young journalists from various backgrounds and colleges are getting hands-on training in the news business here at Civil Beat.

Police Misconduct Records Lawsuit Costs Honolulu Taxpayers Another $83,000 Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2013

Police Misconduct Records Lawsuit Costs Honolulu Taxpayers Another $83,000

The latest ruling brings the city’s costs to about $127,000 in the eight-year-old case.

 

Civil Beat Is Ramping Up Its Neighbor Islands Coverage With New Full-Time Reporters Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat/2022

Civil Beat Is Ramping Up Its Neighbor Islands Coverage With New Full-Time Reporters

We’re beefing up on Maui first, so expect to see much more enterprise reporting from that island starting this week. Big Island and Kauai coming soon.

Talk Directly To Voters In Our New Candidate Forum

Talk Directly To Voters In Our New Candidate Forum

This year we’re providing people running for office the space to share their thoughts on issues.

Why We Removed A Recent Column About Kirk Caldwell Screenshot

Why We Removed A Recent Column About Kirk Caldwell

Political connections are starting to be more of an issue as election season heats up.

8 Years Of Fighting The Police Union In Court And What Did We Get? Quite A Lot, It Turns Out Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

8 Years Of Fighting The Police Union In Court And What Did We Get? Quite A Lot, It Turns Out

Civil Beat’s original lawsuit seeking police disciplinary files has finally come to an end.

How The Victim Of Mistaken Identity Was Finally Let Out Of The Hawaii State Hospital Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2019

How The Victim Of Mistaken Identity Was Finally Let Out Of The Hawaii State Hospital

A new court filing seeks to remove any reference to an alias from his police records. But it also lays out how a doctor at the facility figured out he was not who they thought he was.

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.