WyoFile has hired two prominent state journalists — Dustin Bleizeffer as Editor-in-Chief and Ruffin Prevost as Managing Editor — to lead expanded news coverage of Wyoming people, places and policy, WyoFile board chair Anne MacKinnon announced Tuesday.
“Dustin and Ruffin are two of Wyoming’s top reporters, and they bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise on critical issues facing the state,” said MacKinnon, a former editor-in-chief of the Casper Star-Tribune. “We view this as an important step toward enhancing WyoFile as a source of in-depth information about Wyoming for our online readers and quality content for use by all Wyoming media.”
WyoFile’s new editor-in-chief, Bleizeffer, 40, has worked since 2000 for the Casper Star-Tribune as the newspaper’s chief energy reporter. A 1998 journalism graduate from the University of Wyoming, he worked previously for the News-Record in his hometown of Gillette.
In his years in Casper and Gillette, Bleizeffer covered key energy, environment and workplace issues including coal-bed methane, water quality, and national energy markets.
Bleizeffer’s 2008 investigative series on the failings of Wyoming’s workers’ compensation program earned several awards, including the Wyoming Associated Press Public Service Award. Before beginning his career in newspapers, Bleizeffer worked several years as a mechanic in the coal, oil and gas industries, giving him a unique perspective on energy and workplace issues. He lives in Casper with his wife and two sons.
“After 12 years as a newspaper reporter,” Bleizeffer said, “I view this as an opportunity to collaborate with more of Wyoming’s writers and editors – as well as Wyoming’s people – in the pursuit of investigative journalism and good story-telling.”
WyoFile, an Associate Member of the Wyoming Press Association, is a nonprofit, public service news site at www.wyofile.com. As part of its public service mission, all stories, columns and photographs produced by WyoFile are available free to all Wyoming media.
WyoFile’s new managing editor, Prevost, 41, has worked from Cody for The Billings Gazette since 2005, and his reporting also regularly appears in the Casper Star-Tribune. Prevost also is the Wyoming correspondent for Reuters, the world’s largest international multimedia news agency. He has covered major breaking news stories for Reuters, including elections, wildfires, animal attacks and natural disasters. He worked in 1990 as a summer intern for The Powell Tribune.
For The Gazette, Prevost has produced dozens of exclusive, in-depth stories, including investigative reports on state oversight of Park County youth ranches, a natural gas well blowout in Clark, the dispute over winter access through Yellowstone’s Sylvan Pass and public access to federal land planning meetings.
A 1991 journalism graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Prevost also brings a depth of experience with business, technology and new media journalism.
From 1991-94, he worked in Chapel Hill, N.C. at Ventana Press, where he wrote and edited best-selling books about the Internet, graphic design and computer software. He worked from 1995-2001 in Los Angeles as an independent content producer for America Online. He lives with his wife in rural Park County, near Cody.
“I’ve been a writer and reporter most of my life, going back to high school in North Carolina,” Prevost said. “But I have also worked for years on the technical and business side of publishing. I hope to use that experience to help make WyoFile more accessible to readers and to traditional media outlets across the state.”
Bleizeffer and Prevost will assume their new positions in early November.
MacKinnon said Rone Tempest, 63, who has served as editor since 2008, will continue with WyoFile as a consulting editor and reporter. Tempest, who worked from 1981-2007 as a national and foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, lives in Lander. MacKinnon will serve as interim editor of WyoFile until Bleizeffer and Prevost take on their new jobs in November.
Like public radio and public television, WyoFile is funded with a combination of grants and individual contributions. Unlike public radio and television, however, it receives no taxpayer support. In 2010, major supporters included the John S. and James Knight Foundation, The George B. Storer Foundation, Christopher Findlater, Marcia Kunstel, Joe Albright, Anne Pendergast and the estate of the late Tom Stroock.
For the $122,000 Knight Foundation Community Information Challenge grant awarded for 2010-2013, WyoFile is sponsored by the Lander Community Foundation. The Lander foundation encourages, supports and rewards excellence in the performance of nonprofits.
WyoFile’s board of directors includes MacKinnon; WyoFile founder Christopher Findlater, a former Denver and Cheyenne businessman who now lives in Florida; Gillette oil and gas attorney R.T. Cox, who also writes the WyoFile Sage Grouse column; Laramie attorney Kate Hogarty; and Jonathan Weber, Editor-in-Chief of BayCitizen, a new nonprofit news organization based in San Francisco. Weber founded NewWest.net, and edited that regional news website until earlier this year.