About James Odato

In a career rooted in watchdog reporting, Explorer editor James M. Odato has been cited as one of New York’s top journalists covering state government, gambling, and abuse and waste of public money. He has written thousands of articles, his byline has appeared in numerous national publications and his investigative stories have spurred reforms. As a staff reporter for five daily newspapers, including the Albany Times Union and Buffalo News, Odato has received more than 30 awards from the Associated Press, New York Publishers Association, the New York Legislative Correspondents Association and other media organizations. In 2007, Investigative Reporters and Editors recognized his reporting with the Freedom of Information Award Medal. In October 2021, the University of Massachusetts Press released his book, This Brain Had a Mouth, Lucy Gwin and the Voice of Disability Nation.

Reader Interactions


  1. David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve says

    Great post by Jim on Colvin and his biographers, ardent admirers Jillisky – and Nina Webb, and Norm Van Valkenburgh, Bill Verner, Warder Cadbury…one more admirer and book to mention is Paul Schaefer and his final book The Adirondack Explorations of Verplanck Colvin. Paul began his Adirondack passion as a young man attempting c. 1923 to purchase, at the very expensive price of $10, Colvin’s first survey. It took Paul weeks to come back to the Albany bookseller with the money to pay for it. Paul closed his life in 1996 by publishing the aforementioned book. In between, V. Colvin inspired Paul to become a foremost wilderness conservationist of the 20th century.

  2. Thomas Keating Esq. says

    Thank you for sharing this background. Hopefully future generations will appreciate these individuals and engage in thoughtful conservation.

  3. David Gibson says

    Thanks to Jim Odato for honoring the work on Colvin of Joe Jillisky. He utilized the Adirondack Research Library operating since 1979 entirely by volunteers devoted to Adirondack research. The final published report of V. Colvin’s surveys (1898-99) was due to Norm VanValkenburgh’s finding and care of the manuscript but also due to the tireless efforts of Adk Res library volunteer-experts (Maryde King) who painstakingly and accurately entered that manuscript into new computers during 1988 and, once published, hand tipped in the maps. One other person heavily influenced by V. Colvin was Paul Schaefer. Inspired by explorer Colvin, Paul went on to become the great 20th century Adk conservationist. Paul’s 3d book, The Explorations of Verplanck Colvin, was a final homage to this explorer whose surveys so captivated Paul as a young man.

  4. Glenn L. Pearsall says

    Is there a list of surveyors who worked with Colvin? Researching Pete Gay Mountain and its naming. Wondering if there was a Pete Gay who worked with Colvin.

  5. Denise Collinsworth says

    Enjoy reading any information on Verplanck Colvin. He was my great great grandfather James A Colvin half brother. I came across a picture of Verplanck in my grandmothers belongings and have been intrigued by him! I had no idea others were as well!

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