Juliet Williams

Associated Press News Editor

Bachelor of Journalism, 1998

It’s really easy to be fearful, to be intimidated. And I think that’s by design, a lot of politicians and institutions don’t want you to look behind the curtain.

For more than three months, Juliet Williams rifled through box after box, poring over paper files. She was researching a story on the California government’s failure to adequately track teachers accused of sexual misconduct. The state refused to provide electronic copies so Juliet kept digging into the boxes.

“Then you come across a file,” she says, “and you think - Are you kidding me? This guy continued to teach for six months after someone reported this and there was a news story about this and yet here he is in a classroom? There were a lot of those in there.”

She and her colleagues at Associated Press (AP) presented a national expose of the problem. It was carried by news organizations across America.

Juliet has been climbing up the ranks of AP taking on more responsibility and broadening the scope of her reporting. She arrived at the Sacramento bureau from an AP job in Milwaukee in 2005 and became chief of the bureau in 2015. She had three writers and a photographer on her team but she continued to report, taking on politicians and government, holding them accountable for policies and spending.

In January 2017 Juliet moved to San Francisco and took on the role of Northern California news editor for The Associated Press. Now she oversees a team of reporters in all formats who cover the environment, courts, education and more.

Juliet loves reporting, and she also loves helping the younger reporters develop their investigative chops in what can often be difficult circumstances.

“It’s really easy to be fearful, to be intimidated. And I think that’s by design, a lot of politicians and institutions don’t want you to look behind the curtain. I tell (the reporters) to embrace that fear and push past it. You have a right to ask these questions. This is our government. This is our public institution. We have the right to demand these things and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Juliet was born in Indiana to Canadian parents, giving her dual citizenship, making it easy for her to work south of the border. Her newspaper work began at the University of Alberta with the student paper, The Gateway. From there she took a job on a weekly newspaper. It wasn’t enough. She wanted a bigger platform. The one-year journalism program at King’s was just what she needed. It gave her, as she says, “the foundational understanding of why we do what we do.”

Juliet is doing exactly what she wants do. “It’s pretty phenomenal,” she says. “I can’t really imagine doing anything else that would be so much fun. That’s the selfish part of it, the fun. The non-selfish part of it is helping society, uncovering malfeasance and (when necessary) calling out our elected officials.

Posted: Apr. 2016

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