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Brittany Hailer

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Brittany Hailer


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, Brittany 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. 

As director of PINJ, Brittany has investigated how the pandemic has impacted the Allegheny County Jail, including the jail's kitchen, its use of solitary confinement, and isolation of the sick.

Allegheny v Hailer, a right-to-know request turned court case, is Brittany’s effort to make autopsies public in Allegheny and Philadelphia counties. In December 2020 Brittany filed a public records request with the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. Hailer sought the autopsy and toxicology report for Daniel Pastorek, an inmate who died at the county jail in November 2020. After a series of appeals that request awaits a decision from the Commonwealth Court. 

For her investigations into in-custody deaths, Brittany has received national and regional investigation journalism awards including Best Investigation in the 2022 Nonprofit News Awards. 

Brittany 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, Brittany 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, Brittany 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.

Brittany 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 MagazineNPR, Longform, PublicSource, HAD, Boothand elsewhere. 

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One of the greatest perks of my job is getting feedback and interacting with readers. Contact me if you’ve got any comments or questions for me, I’d love to hear from you.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA

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