October 22, 2012

Oklahoma Watch Names Executive Editor

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Oklahoma Watch, a nonprofit investigative and in-depth reporting service, has named a veteran journalist as its new executive editor.

David Fritze, a senior editor at The Arizona Republic and a former Oklahoma journalist, will assume leadership of Oklahoma Watch on Nov. 12.

Fritze has worked at The Republic in a variety of high-level positions, including as business, metro and national editor as well as a senior reporter. As a senior editor, he has led a team of reporters charged with producing page-one enterprise and investigative stories on public money, education, transportation, white-collar fraud, public health, immigration and criminal justice. His reporters have won regional and national awards.

Before joining The Republic in 1992, Fritze was a reporter at the Dallas Times Herald and, previously, a writer and editor at Oklahoma Monthly magazine. He grew up in Oklahoma City, graduated from the University of Oklahoma journalism school and worked for several Oklahoma newspapers. He spent a year in Ecuador on a Rotary Foundation fellowship.

Over the past six years, much of Fritze’s focus has been on major projects. They included an in-depth investigation of abuses in probate court in which elderly wards of the state were stripped of their assets; a probe into a network of non-profits tied to a Phoenix televangelist who exploited the federal tax and charity systems; and projects on tax cuts for businesses, online K-12 education and financial abuses at the nation’s largest community college system. He played a leading role in The Republic’s coverage of the January 2011 shooting rampage near Tucson in which six died and 13 were wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; The Republic was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in breaking news reporting.

Fritze also has led a “Watchdog Committee” that focused on First Amendment issues, offering training, working with media-law attorneys, and educating staff members about public-records laws.

His reporters have won awards from Investigative Reporters & Editors, Best of the West, the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, the Arizona Press Club, and Gannett Co. Inc., parent company of The Republic/azcentral.com.

Launched in 2010, Oklahoma Watch is the state’s only nonprofit public-affairs news team dedicated to the production and delivery of watchdog journalism across a full range of distribution platforms. Its primary focus areas include poverty, education, corrections, health care and public finance.

Oklahoma Watch works in collaboration with other media partners in Oklahoma and maintains its own website. It has an active partnership with the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. Its principal funders are the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation and the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

For more information, contact Warren Vieth; 405-501-3374, wvieth@sbcglobal.net.