Carol Nunnelley, a founder of Alabama Initiative for Independent Journalism, is executive director of the organization and its news initiative, BirminghamWatch. She is an Alabama journalist who led enterprise and investigative reporting at The Birmingham News over three decades, coverage that addressed the city and state’s intractable problems of race, poverty and inept and corrupt government. She was managing editor of The News from 1992 through 2000.
She joined Associated Press Media Editors in 2001 to develop programs that worked with newsrooms across the country, including National Credibility Roundtables Project and NewsTrain. The roundtables project worked with more than 175 news organizations to improve trust between journalists and the public. NewsTrain reached more than 4,000 reporters and editors with affordable regional training. In 2008, Nunnelley received APME’s top award for working for the betterment of journalism.
Beginning as a reporter at The News in 1966, Nunnelley covered Birmingham’s evolving race relations, a subject historically neglected by the newspaper; exposed neglect and abuse in Alabama’s segregated juvenile corrections system; and uncovered misuse of federal dollars intended to alleviate poverty.
As managing editor, Nunnelley oversaw projects on failures in state child protection services and in the oversight of facilities for the elderly; investigations into the application of the death penalty in Alabama and the poor performance of state schools; and reporting on health problems of Gulf War veterans.
Nunnelley is the author of Building Trust in the News, a best-practices guidebook for editors. Since 2009, Nunnelley has been a teacher, writer and editor. She edited Ethnic Media: Their Influence on Politics and Participation, wrote a biography for young readers of the first woman to serve on Alabama’s Supreme Court, and collaborated with H. Brandt Ayers, publisher and columnist at the Anniston Star, on a collection of his writings over 50 years published by University of Alabama Press.