Mark Zusman

Editor & Co-Owner, Willamette Week

Portland, OR

[OR-E 0201]

We did a story last year about a standing United States Senator who is one of the wealthiest senators in Washington whose fortune was made because he’s either the largest, or one of the largest, frozen pea processors in America.

One of his positions in DC has been fairly harsh on the issue of illegal immigration. We sent a reporter who speaks Spanish out to his processing plant, which is in Pendleton, Ore. She speaks Spanish. We wrote a story about how a large number of his workers are undocumented workers.

We did a story many years ago about an elementary – a middle school in Portland that was poisoning its kids and its teachers for years, and these reports were available and no one was paying any attention to them. A reporter put together the story; the next day the school shut down. It has never been reopened.

The story that we did this week about the tax code in America, which is been picked up by Reuters, by the Columbia Journalism Review, and was even featured on Rachel Maddow, two nights ago, I can’t say it’s changed the debate about taxes, but it’s helped participate.

I could go on and on. On a regular basis I am reminded both of the responsibility of what we do and yet the power of what we do, even in this small little corner of the world.