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Kenneth (Ken) L. Armstrong


BA 1985, Political Science
HDR 2018, Political Science

Investigative Reporter, Seattle Times

Ken Armstrong is an investigative reporter for The Seattle Times and has been in journalism for more than 20 years. His subjects have ranged from failures in the criminal justice system to illegally sealed court records, from Orwellian conditions in the Postal Service to a community’s complicity in protecting wayward athletes.

Armstrong previously worked at the Chicago Tribune where he wrote a groundbreaking five-part series, “The Failure of the Death Penalty in Illinois”, with Steve Mills that exposed fault lines radiating through the state’s system of capital punishment. Citing the Tribune series, then Illinois Governor, George Ryan, declared a moratorium on executions in January 2000. Three years later he emptied Illinois’ death row, commuting 164 death sentences to life in prison and granted full pardons to four death row inmates based on innocence. In Chicago, Ken co-reported five other criminal-justice series.

Armstrong was a 2001 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and the McGraw Professor of Writing at Princeton University in 2002. He is a four-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, in the categories of public service, investigative, national and explanatory reporting. He has won the George Polk Award twice, and the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award three times. Armstrong won the 2009 John Chancellor Award from Columbia University honoring his lifetime of achievement as a journalist.