Richard T. Pienciak, a veteran investigative reporter and editor, has been appointed to the newly created position of national investigative editor at The Associated Press.
The appointment was announced Thursday by Kristin Gazlay, deputy managing editor for national news.
Pienciak, currently the assistant managing editor for investigations at the New York Daily News, will work with reporters both in New York and in the AP’s domestic bureaus to spearhead investigative projects.
“Rick is a seasoned investigative journalist, full of drive, smarts and boundless curiosity,” Gazlay said. “He is sure to help the AP do even greater work.”
Under Pienciak’s leadership at the Daily News, the investigative team has won numerous awards for its work, most notably for its exhaustive series “9/11 Money Trough,” which examined how the $21.4 billion the federal government gave New York to recover from the Sept. 11 attacks was misspent and mismanaged.
At the time of the attacks, Pienciak was metro editor of the Daily News. The newspaper’s coverage that day led to its being a Pulitzer finalist for breaking news reporting. He also worked with columnist Juan Gonzalez in raising concerns about the environmental dangers at Ground Zero within weeks of the terrorist attacks.
Before going to the Daily News, Pienciak had worked at the AP for 13 years, first joining in 1972 in Newark, N.J., and later working in the New York City bureau and as a national writer.
At the AP, Pienciak covered a wide range of stories, including the Jonestown mass killings in Guyana, the right-to-die case of Karen Ann Quinlan, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in 1979 and the Son of Sam serial murder case.
He joined the Daily News in 1985 as a member of a newly formed investigative team and later left for six years to pursue a career writing nonfiction, true-crime books, one of which, “Murder at 75 Birch,” was adapted into a CBS movie of the week. He returned to the Daily News in 1997 under then-Editor Pete Hamill as a special writer for the Sunday paper.
Pienciak, 56, is a graduate of Rider University in New Jersey with a bachelor’s degree in journalism