Brian Maass

2019 Inductee

Brian Maass is the kind of guy who brings his kids to an IRE meeting. Investigative reporting is not just a job for Maass.  It is who he is. “ Maass never stops working,” says Kristine Strain, CBS Assistant News Director, “He works on vacations and holidays, in the middle of the night and at the crack of dawn. I have wondered all these years if the man ever sleeps. Why does he do this?  It is not for fame or notoriety.  He is driven by the desire to get everything right and to serve our community.”

“Brian brings notable talent to the Heartland’s Silver Circle” wrote Governor John W. Hickenlooper, “as he has honored the values of journalism for more than 30 years.  Denver and Colorado are better because of his commitment to share our city and state’s story.  Brian has been reporting on Colorado’s top issues in government for as long as I have been in the state – first as a brewer, and then as mayor and governor. In business and in government, we always kept an eye on the investigators, because you never wanted to hear ‘It’s Brian Maass’ on the other end of the phone.  If you received that call, you knew one thing: Brian was checking into a tip that someone was being treated unfairly, or that a government employee was mismanaging their office, and an investigation was underway.”

“I’m a strong defender of the media”, John Hickenlooper continues, “and believe deeply in its purpose in our society.  Brian and his stories have contributed greatly to improving city accountability — in Denver as well as the surrounding suburbs.  He knows the power of sources and his medium and he never seeks to use them inappropriately.  He maintains an integrity that is sometimes hard to find in investigative reporting these days.”

Brian “is among the rare breed of journalist who is both doggedly determined and remarkably compassionate”, writes Tim Wieland, News Director, CBS4 Denver. “Investigative reporters are known to be smart and aggressive, but not particularly warm or empathetic.  I am impressed by Brian’s ability to put himself into another person’s position when investigating a story.  He first looks for the logical, innocent explanation – before digging deeper and investigating more sinister motives. Upon gathering all the facts, Brian insists that we give those involved in his reporting appropriate time to respond.  He always asks for a face to face interview or conversation – often asking multiple times – to get all sides of a story.  The “ambush interview” used by so many investigative reporters is only used as a last resort.”

For more than twenty years, Brian has been a leading investigative reporter in Colorado and the country. Over the course of his distinguished career, Brian has won many prestigious awards including multiple Edward R. Murrow Awards, Colorado Broadcaster Association Awards and Emmy Awards. While the awards are a nice affirmation of a job well done, what matters most to Brian is giving a voice to the voiceless, holding the powerful accountable — and making a difference in the lives of people living in Colorado and the agencies and systems that are supposed to protect them.

 “Brian Maass is a champion in the large arena of television journalism due to his exceptionalism and work ethic”, writes Todd Bertolet, “Brian Maass emerged as the sole reporter that possessed those extraordinary investigative journalistic qualities to transform the story of the murder of my sister, Toni Bertolet Henthorn, from a mere “accidental fall” in Rocky Mountain National Park to the reality of the sinister plot of murder at the hands of her husband.”

“Some of my best years in television news were spent supporting Brian and his investigations at News 4 in Denver while I was managing editor”, writes Jacque Montgomery.  “Brian’s compassion in story telling is matched by his dogged pursuit of the truth.  He recognizes a story and goes after it.  When breaking news like Columbine takes over the entire news day, Brian knows exactly how to use his skills to complement coverage.  His completeness in fact gathering sets the bar for investigative journalists.”

Brian is not only a smart, responsible journalist — but also a leader and teacher.  Other journalists in the newsroom turn to Brian for guidance. Brian can often be found offering story guidance, interview advice, script feedback, or contact suggestions to CBS4 reporters.  He has earned that trust through his commitment to excellence and fairness.