Staff changes announced at The Frontier

The Frontier has hired Clifton Adock as senior staff writer

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After two years as editor in chief of The Frontier, Ziva Branstetter is leaving Tulsa to join the Center for Investigative Reporting in California and Dylan Goforth is being named editor in chief.

The Frontier is also announcing the hiring of Clifton Adcock as senior staff writer. He joins Senior Staff Writer Kevin Canfield and Staff Writer Kassie McClung on The Frontier’s staff.

Adcock is an award-winning reporter well known across Oklahoma for his investigative and data-driven journalism. He has spent the past decade reporting for the Muskogee Phoenix, the Tulsa World, The Oklahoma Gazette and Oklahoma Watch.

Robert Lorton III, The Frontier’s founding publisher and a current board member, said: “I’m proud of my almost two decades of working with Ziva Branstetter at the Tulsa World and never would have started The Frontier without her.

“She has grown into one of the best investigative journalists in the country. She has left her mark on this state and The Frontier is better for it. I’m very proud of the team Ziva has helped build at The Frontier.”

Lorton said he was excited to announce that Goforth will lead The Frontier as its new editor in chief. He praised the contributions Senior Staff Writer Kevin Canfield and Staff Writer Kassie McClung have made to The Frontier and said both will play an important role in the website’s future.

“Though Ziva is leaving us a big hole to fill, Cliff Adcock is joining our experienced team and he’s already made a significant name for himself. We at The Frontier plan on growing our staff and continuing to be the team of watchdog journalists our state so desperately needs.”

Prior to founding The Frontier in April 2015, Branstetter spent more than 25 years as a reporter and editor at The Tulsa World and The Tulsa Tribune.

Ziva Branstetter

While at The Frontier, Branstetter led numerous investigations, including a series on Oklahoma’s lax regulations on security guards, stories about civil rights abuses in Tulsa’s jail and an investigation that led to the end of the Tulsa Police Department’s practice of “buying rank.”

Coverage by Branstetter and Goforth of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office scandal surrounding Robert Bates and Stanley Glanz helped spark sweeping changes at the agency, including the former sheriff’s indictment and resignation from office.

Branstetter’s continued advocacy on open records issues has raised awareness about how government officials, including Gov. Mary Fallin and Sheriff Vic Regalado, have blocked citizens’ access to public records. She also recently broke the story revealing the reason Fallin’s general counsel, Jennifer Chance, abruptly quit her job this month.

During Branstetter’s time at the World, she and Cary Aspinwall —also a founder of The Frontier — were finalists for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for local reporting for their coverage of the botched execution of Clayton Lockett.

Branstetter continued her death penalty coverage while at The Frontier, writing stories related to Lockett’s execution as well as the state’s on-again, off-again attempts to execute Richard Glossip.

A grand jury report concludes that several state officials violated policies and laws in preparing for executions last year.
Photo by Shane Bevel/The Frontier

The Frontier has also partnered with state and national media organizations including NewsOn6 and News9, The Marshall Project and the Dallas Morning News.

Branstetter will continue working on an ongoing project about Oklahoma’s incarceration rates between The Frontier and The Center for Investigative Reporting, Branstetter’s new employer, based in Emeryville, Calif.

Goforth began his career at the Muskogee Phoenix and joined the staff of the Tulsa World in 2013. He was among four journalists to found The Frontier in 2015 and has focused on covering crime, courts and social issues.

Dylan Goforth

“I am incredibly proud of the work we’ve done here at The Frontier and I’m excited about the future of the website under Dylan’s leadership,” Branstetter said.

“Cliff Adcock is a great addition to the team and I’m thrilled he has joined the staff because he has a track record of doing the kind of journalism for which The Frontier has become known.”

Adcock spent the last four years at Oklahoma Watch, where he wrote a number of groundbreaking stories, including a look at the behind-the-scenes weakening of Oklahoma’s criminal justice reforms, and an investigation into devices purchased by The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety that allowed troopers “to freeze and seize money loaded onto prepaid cards.”

Happy that I’m leaving? Don’t be. The Frontier is here to stay

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