Data-driven Investigative Reporting
As a fellow the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism I have taken a leadership role on several national investigations that have been published with the Associated Press and picked up major news outlets.
- In public housing, a small debt can get poor tenants evicted | For this investigation, I conducted sensitive interviews with our lead subjects in Crisfield, Maryland, who were in extremely vulnerable financial and family situations. I also served as a lead writer, marrying compelling scenes with data findings to show how the public housing system is — and isn’t — working.
- Walmart sales soared, essential workers got scant protection | For this data-driven examination of worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic, I coordinated a 50-person public records campaign to obtain data on workplace COVID-19 outbreaks from state health departments. As we acquired the data, I co-led a team of seven reporters in cleaning, wrangling and analyzing it. Throughout these steps, I both wrote code and assisted team members in asking journalistic questions about the data, problem-solving in R and transforming data findings into language that our reporting team and readers could digest.
- I am currently examining persistent gender gaps in high school sports as we near the 50th anniversary of Title IX. I am pursuing more than 20 public records requests to acquire multiple types of data. I am cleaning, wrangling and analyzing the data in R.
For code samples, please see my Github Data Journalism Portfolio.
Local Accountability Reporting
I was part of a two-person reporting team that uncovered financial mismanagement and persistent Sunshine Act violations in the wealthiest school district in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. During the project I made extensive use of the state’s open records law and pursued several Right-to-Know requests through successful appeals. Our year-long investigation prompted hundreds of taxpayers to attend public meetings and demand changes to school district operations. It also led to a more transparent superintendent search, board member resignations and the restoration of art and music classes for elementary school students. Here are a few key stories from the investigation:
- Leaked audio: Manheim Township school board conspired to deliberate privately on superintendent search
- Manheim Township school board faces mostly hostile crowd of more than 320
- After tax hikes and school cuts, Manheim Twp. School District has $25M surplus
- Investigation of former superintendent has cost Manheim Township taxpayers nearly $104,000
Our investigation earned Pennsylvania’s most prestigious newspaper honor, the G. Richard Dew Award for Journalistic Service, along with several other awards.
Since March 2020, I have been covering COVID-19’s impact on K-12 classrooms nationwide for KQED MindShift. My work takes a solutions-oriented look at how kids learn and addresses undercovered topics, such as child grief and teacher stress. Here are a few of my favorite stories:
- Why Helping Grieving Students Heal Matters So Much
- Lessons in Online Kindergarten: Why Responsive Teaching Matters in Any Setting
- Unplanned Lessons: What Pandemic Education Has Taught Teachers
I also reported and wrote a forthcoming episode of the MindShift podcast. For the episode, I followed a high school theater class through the tumult of one trimester during the coronavirus pandemic and explored what happens when teachers share their emotions in the classroom.