On Background is a newsletter about investigative reporting. I’ll show you how the sausage gets made — from how I stumbled across a story idea, to what the public records requests looked like, to just how many emails it took to get that one-line statement out of a government flack.
There will be lots of wonky details, but I’ll try to include plenty of anecdotes, too — like the time the CIA made me go off the record to tell me “no comment.”
And it won’t just be about me or my work. I’ll include interviews with great investigative reporters and editors, and I’ll feature issues on big questions like how to approach records requests, the difference between background and deep background and what the hell we even mean by “investigative reporting” in the first place.
I’m an investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C.
I’ve worked on investigative teams at CQ Roll Call and ThinkProgress, and I’ve freelanced for outlets that include The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, Al Jazeera America, The Intercept, Religion News Service and PRI’s The World.
My work has covered issues from breakdowns in the nation’s gun background check system to federal judges contributing to senators who supported their nominations, the background of a notorious terrorist leader and sexual assault allegations in religious communities.