James Asher is the Washington Bureau Chief, leading the work of 40 reporters and editors in Washington and around the globe.
In addition to providing national and international coverage for McClatchy’s 30 daily newspapers and for some 1,200 clients of the McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Asher is responsible for leading the bureau's digital news operations.
Prior to his appointment as bureau chief in February 2011, Asher was the bureau's investigative editor, directing extensive inquiries into America's economic upheaval as well as of the treatment of the nation's veterans and of the dangers of unapproved uses of prescription drugs. He also was responsible for directing coverage of the Supreme Court, the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the broad topic of consumer affairs.
The bureau's work he edited on Goldman, Moody's and the collapse of the American economy was selected as a 2010 finalist for national reporting by the Pulitzer Prize Board.
Asher also was editor for the bureau’s investigative work on the firings of U.S. attorneys and the subsequent resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, on the federal government's botched response after Hurricane Katrina and on various nominees to the Supreme Court. Since joining the bureau in December 2002, investigative stories he edited have won several other national journalism awards, including Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists; two Gerald Loeb Awards, The Malcolm Forbes Award from the Overseas Press Club, National Headliner Awards and the Heywood Broun Award.
Asher came to the bureau from The Baltimore Sun, where stories he edited prompted reforms of the police department, a major overhaul of the criminal courts and $50 million investment by the State of Maryland to combat lead paint poisoning. Two stories he edited at The Sun were selected as Pulitzer finalists.
Asher also worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer for 12 years as a reporter and an editor. As a reporter, he covered the New Jersey statehouse and later was assigned to The Inquirer’s business news staff. In 1984, he was a lead reporter on the paper’s investigation of Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro, which unearthed the connections between her husband and New York’s organized crime figures. Later his reporting on mismanagement at the Port of Philadelphia prompted a state takeover of operations and a $100 million investment in port infrastructure. As an editor at The Inquirer, one investigative project he directed on crime among Hispanic mushroom pickers won a Robert F. Kennedy award.
Asher holds a B.S. and a M.S. from Syracuse University and did postgraduate work in finance, economics and accounting in Temple University's MBA program.
Follow James Asher on Twitter: @jimasher