Amy Walters

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Not to be confused with Amy Walter, The Cook Political Report national editor

Amy Walters is a journalist for the Center for Investigative Reporting. Walters worked for Al Jazeera for over a year and National Public Radio (NPR) for fifteen years before that as a reporter and producer.[1]

After graduating from Earlham College with a Bachelor's degree in English, Walters joined NPR's Middle East Bureau. In 2000 she joined the staff of Morning Edition in Washington, D.C., then NPR's All Things Considered, where she contributed to NPR's award-winning coverage of September 11th.[1]

In 2003, Walters moved to Los Angeles as a field producer for the network. Producing NPR's coverage in California and around the world. Walters covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Arab Spring in Libya and Egypt; humanitarian and environmental disasters like the earthquake in Haiti; the BP oil spill; the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's election, California's troubled prison system; and the death of pop legend Michael Jackson.[1]

Walters has produced a number of stories with NPR’s Investigative Unit and correspondent Laura Sullivan, winning Peabody Awards, a DuPont-Columbia Award, and a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for investigative journalism. Walters and Sullivan were also severely criticized for shortcomings in their 2011 investigation into the South Dakota foster care system for Native American children.[2] After questions were raised about the integrity of the reporting on that story, NPR's Ombudsman Edward Schumacher-Matos did an in-depth investigation of his own that determined that, "The series committed five sins that violate NPR's code of standards and ethics."[3] Schumacher-Matos then listed those five violations, saying the story contained:

1. No proof for its main allegations of wrongdoing;

2. Unfair tone in communicating these unproven allegations;

3. Factual errors, shaky anecdotes and misleading use of data by quietly switching what was being measured;

4. Incomplete reporting and lack of critical context;

5. No response from the state on many key points.

However, NPR stood by the series and called the ombudsman's report "unorthodox, the sourcing selective, fact-gathering uneven and the conclusions, subjective or without foundation."[4] Two subsequent reports, one by a coalition of nine Lakota tribes,[5] and another by the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform,[6] reviewed the ombudsman's report and found the NPR series was sound. In May 2015, a federal judge ruled in summary judgment in favor of South Dakota's tribes finding that the State of South Dakota and its Department of Social Services had "failed to protect Indian parents' fundamental rights."[7]