The Marshall Project is pleased to announce the hiring of Brittany Hailer as a staff writer in the Cleveland newsroom.
Hailer comes to The Marshall Project - Cleveland after serving as director of the Pittsburgh Institute of Nonprofit Journalism, a news outlet she co-founded in 2021.
It was community engagement outreach — teaching writing classes for those living behind bars — that led her to investigate jail deaths in Allegheny County and the Pittsburgh area. Her reporting led the nonprofit news outlet to successfully appeal and gain first-ever access to in-jail death autopsies and reports.
Hailer’s reporting also led to the creation of a jail death database now available to all journalists across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“Brittany’s work on jail deaths was relentless, groundbreaking and impactful, traits we embrace as we move our newsroom forward,” said Phil Trexler, editor-in-chief of The Marshall Project - Cleveland.
As a result of her reporting, Hailer won the best investigative journalism award in the 2022 Nonprofit News Awards. She has also won several regional Golden Quill awards, including the 2023 award for best investigative journalism.
Hailer has also worked as an assistant teaching professor of journalism at the University of Pittsburgh. She was a 2023 Law and Justice Journalism Project Fellow.
Prior to her nonprofit news outlet work, Hailer spent three years as a writer and editor with the Pittsburgh Current, covering jail-related issues, mental health and the opioid crisis.
She holds degrees in creative writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and Chatham University.
“Brittany’s ability to engage with community members and respond to their needs aligns with our efforts across all of our local newsrooms,” said Marlon A. Walker, The Marshall Project’s managing editor, local. “We are beyond excited for her to join us.”
The Marshall Project - Cleveland launched in 2022 as the first local expansion of the national news organization, which has won several major awards — including two Pulitzer Prizes — since its founding in 2014.
The Marshall Project seeks to create and sustain a sense of national and local urgency about the inequities within the U.S. criminal justice system. The Marshall Project - Cleveland newsroom aims to expose abuses in the Cuyahoga County criminal justice system, as well as systemic issues across Ohio and inside its state prison system.
Hailer is relocating to the Cleveland area and will begin her assignment on Jan. 29.