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Kathleen McGrory named Tampa Bay Times deputy editor, investigations

She will be the first woman to oversee the newsroom’s watchdog unit.
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Kathleen McGrory is the new deputy editor for investigations at the Tampa Bay Times.
DIRK SHADD | Times Kathleen McGrory is the new deputy editor for investigations at the Tampa Bay Times. [ SHADD, DIRK | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Dec. 4, 2020|Updated Dec. 5, 2020

Kathleen McGrory has been named deputy editor for investigations at the Tampa Bay Times, becoming the first woman to run the newsroom’s watchdog team.

McGrory has served as deputy investigations editor since 2018.

“Kat is one of the absolute best investigative reporters in the country, whose work has had a profound impact in our community,” executive editor and vice president Mark Katches told the newsroom in announcing the move. “I’m excited to see her step into this important leadership role.”

McGrory came to the Times in 2015 from the Miami Herald, where she started her career after earning a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. In Miami, McGrory rose quickly covering breaking news, schools, city hall and the statehouse for the Herald. She joined the Times investigative team in 2017 after a stint covering health and medicine.

“I’m honored to get to work with this talented team and continue the legacy of important investigative reporting that means so much to our community,” McGrory said.

Her stories have exposed previously unreported spikes in the number of child gun deaths, traced the origins of a fatal power-plant accident and exposed tragic mistakes at the Heart Institute at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. That last project, “Heartbroken,” was reported with Neil Bedi. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was awarded the George Polk Award for local reporting.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that project saved lives,” Katches said.

Within weeks of publishing the story, the CEO of the hospital, and other members of the leadership team, resigned. Federal inspectors swooped in and identified widespread problems. Public funding was threatened, fines were issued, and Johns Hopkins announced sweeping changes at the St. Petersburg hospital. Families of the dead or injured children received more than $40 million in settlements from Johns Hopkins.

Her most recent investigation, where she once again teamed with Bedi, uncovered a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office program designed to thwart crime, but it has led to systematic harassment, privacy breaches, and monitoring of Pasco citizens and school children.

McGrory, 37, will take over the investigative team in mid-January. She replaces Adam Playford, who is joining the New York Times as a projects editor for the Upshot.

McGrory is married to Michael Van Sickler, who oversees politics coverage at the Times. They live in St. Petersburg with their rescue beagle, Susan.