Visiting Associate Professor of the Practice of Journalism
January 2017 – present
Teaching data journalism, beat reporting, journalism research and fundamentals.
Associate Director, Data+Narrative: Storytelling Workshops at Boston University
September 2016 – present
Co-developed a new curriculum for the annual Storytelling with Data Workshops. Helping to launch a program that expands on the summer program to bring similar training off-campus.
Clinical Professor of Computational Journalism
September 2016 – December 2016
Freelance Investigative Reporter
January 2012 – present
Pitching, reporting and writing investigative, often data-driven, articles for newspapers, magazines, web publications, television and radio. Maintaining relationships with sources and editors.
The New York Times, Contributor
March 2014 – August 2016
Co-authored and reported a series of investigative, high impact stories on think tanks. Building and maintaining a database that served as a backbone for the series and accompanying data visualizations. Our first story, published on Sunday’s front page in 2014, was part of a package that won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. The article also led to calls for federal investigation and prompted a new House rule requiring those who testify before Congress to disclose funding from foreign governments.
New England Center for Investigative Reporting
May 2015 – August 2016
Senior investigative reporter and senior trainer
Reported and wrote local, regional and national data-driven, investigative stories. Taught courses and workshops to help train the next generation of investigative reporters, as well as mid-career professionals, in investigative journalism and data-driven storytelling techniques.
January 2012 – May 2015
Reported, wrote and helped to produce data-driven, investigative and narrative stories for web, radio and Television. One story about a power play to develop waterfront land in San Diego was a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors award in 2012.
inewsource, DC Bureau Chief
October 2009 – December 2011
Managed, reported and wrote data-driven investigations published in newspapers and on Television, radio and the web. Worked with and mentored interns participating in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Washington Program. One story explored a “cigar club” on the Hill. Another examined industry connections in a congressional committee. One report, featured on ABC World News Tonight, examined how stimulus money meant for local economies went to companies overseas.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, Investigative reporter
June 2004 – September 2009
Report and wrote dozens of data-driven stories that shed light on the actions of government officials and others in power. One series exposed how companies took advantage of wildfire victims, prompting a federal criminal probe and leading to a $1 million taxpayer settlement. Reported and wrote daily and breaking news stories, using narrative storytelling techniques to cover events ranging from a race car show to a child’s death.
Center for Public Integrity, Reporter & Writer
January 2002 – June 2004
Co-authored investigative, data-driven books and news articles on campaign finance, defense contracts and prosecutorial misconduct. Built a database for the first-ever nationwide investigation of local prosecutors. Won the George Polk Award as part of the team on Windfalls of War, a project examining companies with contracts for work in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Project on Public Narrative, Harvard University
July 2014 – July 2015
Investigative Journalism Fellow
Developed a data-driven investigative journalism project on federal prosecutor misconduct and accountability, which will ultimately result in national, narrative, multi-platform stories and web applications. Built the foundation for a nationwide database detailing instances of misconduct and any disciplinary actions. Created a methodology that uses machine learning to document and track potential prosecutorial misconduct in the vast majority of cases that do not make it to trial.
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
September 2012 – July 2014
Investigative Journalism Fellow
Developed and managed a project to shed light on private interests behind public policy research at think tanks. Built a relational database containing corporate and foreign government donations to think tanks, lobbying disclosure data, IRS 990 data, congressional testimony and more. Reported and wrote newspaper, magazine and web stories and produced podcasts.
Western Knight Center for Specialized Journalism
“Covering Native Americans in the 21st Century”
Joined 20 journalists on a multi-state journey and workshop on covering American Indian tribes.
The Buying of the President 2004, HarperCollins, January 6, 2004; authored a chapter on candidate and former Senator Bob Graham.
Harmful Error: Investigating America’s Local Prosecutors, June 26, 2013, Center for Public Integrity, co-author with Steve Weinberg
“Influence Incognito” March 28, 2013
Boston University, Fundamentals of Journalism, undergraduate, Fall 2016; Beat Reporting, graduate and undergraduate, Spring 2017; Beat Reporting, undergraduate, Summer 2017
New England Center for Investigative Reporting, Boston University, Taught courses in data reporting and investigative methods to undergraduate and graduate journalism students, working journalists and high school students. Computer-assisted Reporting, BU, Spring 2016; Investigative Reporting Certificate Program, Spring 2015; Summer Investigative Journalism High School Workshop, 2015; trained journalists from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in investigative and data-driven storytelling and visualization, 2016.
Harvard Law School, Guest Lecturer, Professor Lawrence Lessig’s undergraduate course, “Institutional Corruption,” Spring 2014.
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, Fall 2012, Fall 2013 and Spring 2015. Developed syllabi and taught three seminars (2.75 hours each) to undergraduate, graduate and post-doctorate students, as well as faculty from various disciplines. Two covered investigating think tanks and their impact on global and domestic affairs. Another delved into investigating prosecutorial misconduct and accountability.
Boston University, “Storytelling with Data,” Summer 2014 & Summer 2015. Taught data-driven journalism techniques for this workshop at the Rafik B. Hariri Institute for Computing and Computational Science & Engineering.
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University, “Investigating Institutional Corruption: A Workshop on the Latest Tools,” December 4, 2013. Designed, organized and taught a workshop on data-driven, investigative reporting techniques to Harvard University students, faculty, fellows and local journalists.
University of Missouri School of Journalism Spring and Fall 2011; mentored and taught data-driven, investigative reporting methods to master’s students in the Washington Program.
Boston Field Research Conference at Boston University, June 9, 2016, panelist, “Telling Stories with Data.”
Harvard Law School, May 1-2, 2015, “Ending iCorruption,” member of organizing committee and panelist for workshop on institutional corruption and investigative journalism.
The Fletcher School, Tufts University, October 14, 2014, “Thinking About Think Tanks” moderator, “Foundations, the Academy and Think Tanks in the 21st Century.”
Law and Society Association, Annual Meeting, May 31, 2013, presenter, “Institutional Corruption and Think Tanks”
Investigative Reporters and Editors and National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting, Annual Conferences, presenter, Investigating Prosecutorial Misconduct, 2003; Investigating with Real Estate Data, 2006; Digging in on gambling and casinos; Excel, June 2010.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, 2005 – 2006; presented on data-driven investigative reporting techniques to dozens of civic groups in San Diego as part of my role on the watchdog team.
Northeastern University, Master of Arts, Media Innovation, Expected Spring 2017
Missouri School of Journalism, Bachelor of Journalism, December 2001
Awarded internships to work as a Washington, D.C., correspondent for two daily newspapers, The Topeka Capital Journal in Kansas and the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, 2000
University of California at San Diego, 1996 to 1998; Ecology, Behavior and Evolution
Co-authored article was part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning package for Investigative Reporting, 2014
Gerald Loeb Award, Beat Reporting, 2014
San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, 1st Place for Investigative Reporting in 2009, 2011 and 2012 and “Best in Show” for non-daily reporting and writing.
George Polk Award for Internet Reporting, 2004
Livingston Award for Young Journalists, Finalist, 2005
Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, Finalist, 2012
Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting and Explanatory Writing, 2005
Freedom of Information Award, California Newspaper Publishers Association, 2006
Investigative Reporting Award, San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism, 2009