Jason Paladino was hooked on journalism after taking the introductory class his sophomore year at SNC. He went on to get his MA from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism in 2015, and then received one of the prestigious fellowships from the school’s Investigative Reporting Program for 2015 – 2016. This program gives select post-graduate students a one year opportunity to pursue a story by providing up to $10,000 in travel expenses, benefits, and editorial guidance.
While still in grad school, Jason began an in-depth investigation into safety issues on U.S. Navy aircraft after he lost one of his close friends to a fatal naval helicopter crash. His findings resulted in three NBC Nightly News broadcasts (Feb 3 2015, Oct 5 2015, and Oct 9 2015), and a piece on the IRE (Investigative Reporters & Editors) Radio Podcast. Working from the Navy’s own data, Paladino found that the Navy used the Cold War-era Sea Dragon helicopter for years, despite lacking proper maintenance and replacement parts. Records showed the Sea Dragon was frequently involved in crashes and fires, costing sailors their lives.
In recognition of his contribution to advancing freedom of information, he received the Society of Professional Journalists – NorCal 2016 James Madison Freedom of Information Student Award for his investigation into the Sea Dragon program. Paladino and collaborator Virginian-Pilot reporter Mike Hixenbaugh were also named finalists for the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, the top award given to journalists under the age of 35.
“If it wasn’t for Tanya (Canino)’s guidance and the professional setting of the Eagle’s Eye, I would not be prepared for my role as a journalist today.”
Jason speaks fondly of the rich experiences he had in his classes and projects during his time at SNC. He says committing himself to the ODAL and Journalism combined major was intensive, but he always felt encouraged by his faculty to look for a new opportunities. Looking to the future, Jason wants to stay in the non-profit journalism world, in a position that will allow him to travel to report meaningful stories around the world. He is currently producing a feature-length documentary that examines structural problems within the Pentagon through the lens of the Sea Dragon report.