Melinda Deslatte to become PAR research director

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana (PAR) is pleased to announce that Associated Press Correspondent Melinda Deslatte will become Research Director of the nonprofit educational organization in January 2022.

Deslatte is an award-winning reporter, columnist and editor with a strong reputation as an objective, critical and analytical journalist. She has 22 years of experience with the AP, including 21 years in Baton Rouge covering state government, politics, court cases, hurricanes and major events in Louisiana. Deslatte has overseen the Louisiana Capitol bureau since 2005. She is the regular contributor of a weekly column, Louisiana Spotlight, focused on Louisiana politics.

“As Research Director, Melinda will follow a long line of distinguished policy analysts who for 71 years have led PAR’s primary mission of producing research that promotes best practices and accountability in state and local government,” said PAR President Dr. Steven Procopio. “She has unparalleled respect in the political and business communities for her high-quality work and journalistic integrity.”

Procopio, who became President this month, said Deslatte will join him in managing an expansion of staff and activities at PAR, a nonpartisan, independent public policy group founded in 1950.

Deslatte, who grew up in LaPlace, has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Deslatte is known for her expertise in covering the Louisiana state budget and finances, as well as the governor, the Legislature, elections, redistricting, education, health care and partisan shifts in politics. She has covered hurricanes, the coronavirus pandemic, racial justice protests and the trials of former Gov. Edwin Edwards and a Baton Rouge serial killer. She has managed and edited other reporters and interns in the Capitol bureau.

Before taking her post in Baton Rouge, she was a news reporter for the AP in Raleigh, N.C.

Deslatte is on the board of the Press Club of Baton Rouge and is a member of the Capitol Correspondents Association, which produces the Gridiron Show. She is a former member of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication Alumni Board.

PAR promotes transparency in state and local government, including laws and good practices for ethics and public access to records and meetings of public bodies. PAR’s scope of work also includes research and recommendations for policy related to state spending and taxation, education, health care, infrastructure, coastal spending, redistricting and workforce and economic development. PAR’s program of citizen education includes the annual PAR Guide to the Constitutional Amendments, the Guide to the Louisiana Legislature and a mobile app.

The Associated Press is the world’s largest news gathering organization with employees in 250 locations around the globe. The 175-year-old nonprofit news agency based in New York is the foremost national news source for newspapers, broadcasters and other media. Deslatte’s stories are carried regularly in all forms of media throughout Louisiana and the nation.

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