Brittany Hailer is an award-winning investigative journalist and educator based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the director of the Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and Assistant Teaching Professor of Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a 2022-2023 Fellow for the Law and Justice Journalism Project. Her work has been funded by The Pulitzer Center, Google News Equity Fund and Pittsburgh Media Partnership.
Her memoir and poetry collection Animal You'll Surely Become was published by Tolsun Books in 2018.
Since 2020, Hailer has tracked in-custody deaths at the Allegheny County Jail, some of which were not previously reported to the public. Allegheny County Jail's death rate is double the national average for jails its size.
The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has ordered Allegheny County to provide Hailer with autopsy records concerning a 63-year-old man who died in custody in 2020. Hailer first requested the autopsy records in late 2020 to find out whether conditions at the Allegheny County Jail contributed to Pastorek’s death.
For her investigations into in-custody deaths, Hailer has received national and regional investigation journalism awards including Best Investigation in the 2022 Nonprofit News Awards.
Hailer received first place in enterprise for non-daily newspapers for her investigation into incarcerated kitchen workers at the Allegheny County Jail. In the Western Pennsylvania Press Club’s 2022 Golden Quills competition,
Hailer received Best-of-Show, the Ray Sprigle Memorial Award, for the same investigation.
In 2020, she received a Golden Quill Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for an essay she wrote about her experience investigating the opioid crisis while her father struggled with homelessness and alcoholism.
For her stories of people affected by the opioid epidemic, she received a 2019 Golden Quill Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania and a Robert L. Vann Award of Excellence for investigative/enterprise reporting from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation.
In 2018, Hailer was selected to be a Justice Reporting Fellow as part of the John Jay/Langeloth Foundation Fellowship on “Reinventing Solitary Confinement" and again in 2020 for "Justice and the Pandemic.
Hailer has taught creative writing classes at the Allegheny County Jail and Sojourner House as part of Chatham’s Words Without Walls program and now teaches creative writing and journalism at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in Sierra Club Magazine, NPR, Longform, PublicSource, HAD, Booth, and elsewhere.
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Pittsburgh, PA, USA