Cynthia Dizikes, who has been MinnPost’s Washington correspondent since January, is leaving us to take a metro reporting position at the Chicago Tribune.
To replace her, we have hired Derek Wallbank Jr., most recently a researcher/reporter for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, and previously a reporter and political blogger for the Lansing State Journal in Michigan.
Cynthia told us she was very reluctant to leave MinnPost, but in the end the chance to be a reporter for the big newspaper in her hometown won out.
We’ll miss her. She was an enthusiastic and dogged reporter and a prolific writer, and she established MinnPost as the place to go to know what’s going on in Minnesota’s congressional delegation.
But we’re excited about Derek.
In Lansing, Derek covered the K12 education beat, and directed coverage for and wrote the Lansing State Journal’s state and national politics blog, which won an award from the national Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors in 2007 for outstanding political commentary. In 2008, it was listed as one of the best state political blogs in America by the Washington Post.
Derek won a first-place award in 2008 for statehouse reporting in newspapers with circulation under 70,000 from the national Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors.
In Washington, Derek managed CQ’s events database, reported on campaigns, elections and health-care overhaul efforts for CQPolitics.com and CQ HealthBeat publications, and analyzed congressional districts for CQ’s Politics in America reference book.
Derek says his favorite stories have involved either “uncovering things in government statistics” or “sticking around for a story when the rest of the media had given up.”
To learn a little about Derek’s personal interests, such as the fact that he and his wife are renaissance fair junkies, check out this recent interview with him on the mediabistro blog Fishbowl DC.
Derek starts today, and will be trained in and introduced to Minnesota’s congressional delegation by Cynthia, who will be moving on Nov. 20.
Joel Kramer is CEO and editor of MinnPost.com. He can be reached at jkramer[at]minnpost[dot]com.