Rebecca Woolington ’09

2023 Eric Allen Outstanding Young Alum

portrait of Rebecca Woolington

Rebecca Woolington, who graduated from the UO School of Journalism and Communication in 2009 with a double-major in advertising and journalism, says the work she does as the investigative editor at the Tampa Bay Times is about shedding light on wrongdoing, exposing injustices in the community, and telling the stories of people who are often overlooked or not listened to.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Woolington worked as an investigative journalist at the Oregonian before moving to the Tampa Bay Times.

She and her colleagues wrote what would eventually win the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in investigative reporting about a Tampa lead factory’s negligence that exposed workers to lead and other toxic chemicals. The story prompted an OSHA inspection, a Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission inspection, and fines and ultimately resulted in improved working conditions.

“Investigative reporting is very challenging. You amass so much information as an investigative journalist, and a lot of times it is information that people don't want us to get,” she said. “We're constantly challenging ourselves along the way, too, to make sure that the work that we're doing is rock solid and bulletproof.”

Woolington believes in the power of local journalism in a community and is driven to hold powerful people accountable. She said the most rewarding parts of her job are connecting with people in her community and giving them information that could greatly affect their lives.

Woolington lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her two cats, Caroline and Claudette.

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