Kyle Bagenstose is an investigative reporter with Gannett, the largest newspaper company in the United States. Working as part of the company’s national reporting team, Kyle is tasked with developing impactful reporting for several dozen papers across the northeast United States. He started in the role in November 2019, with his first several stories appearing on USAToday.com or in the paper’s print edition.
Previously, Kyle worked as an environmental and investigative reporter with the Bucks County Courier Times, a mid-sized daily newspaper in Philadelphia’s northern suburbs. His work also appeared in sister papers The Intelligencer (Doylestown, Pa.) and Burlington County Times (Willingboro, NJ).
Through wire services, his work has appeared in newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, Miami Herald, The Stars and Stripes, and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Specializing in environmental issues, his reporting has twice been recognized by the Society of Environmental Journalists, whose national awards program is considered among the most prestigious in the field. In 2019, he received second place for overall beat reporting in a small market for his work investigating environmental issues in the Delaware Valley, and in 2017 he received second place for in-depth reporting on PFAS chemicals.
His most significant work to date is ‘Unwell Water,’ a years-long investigative series that unveiled and chronicled major PFAS drinking water contamination in the Philadelphia suburbs. In addition to the 2017 SEJ award, the series also won multiple state-level investigative and public service journalism awards, and led to significant action by a slew of state and federal lawmakers. Additional reporting on the chemicals has served as the top story on USAToday.com and ran in major-metro papers across the country. In 2019, he was one of two reporters invited to speak about their work at the National PFAS Conference at Northeastern University, appearing on a panel beside representatives of the Department of Defense and CDC.
Kyle has tackled a wide range of additional environmental issues. In 2017, he published a comprehensive, four-part series detailing the industrial legacy of Lower Bucks County, tracking its century-long transition from a major industrial hub to Pennsylvania’s largest municipal waste center. The series, which also identified potential public health impacts and environmental justice issues, won first place for a newspaper series in the 2018 Keystone Press Awards.
Kyle has also served readers by identifying the toxic history of a forgotten landfill proposed for residential development, explaining the dangers of high lead levels in a town’s water supply, and localizing the current and upcoming impacts of climate change. In his current role, stories on the detriments of America’s addiction to road salt and rising temperatures along the Northeast coastline have appeared nationally through USA Today. He spoke about the latter story on CBS News.
In a pinch he’s crossed into other beats, such as his coverage of the 2018 congressional campaign in Bucks County and the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Kyle grew up among rolling green hills near Reading, Pa., the youngest in a family of four teachers. His Pennsylvania Dutch lineage stretches 10 generations, back to a Swiss immigrant who arrived in Berks County in the 1740s. He feels a strong connection to the state and its land.
When he’s not reporting, he’s usually hiking, kayaking, coaching wrestling, or cheering on Philadelphia’s sports teams.