(Reuters, 2023) My two co-reporters and I reached out to more than 300 former Tesla employees for this story, which went viral soon after publication. It also prompted an on-going class action lawsuit and a letter from U.S. senators to Elon Musk.
(LA Times, 2021) This front-page feature unmasked the members of a secret brotherhood of deputies who were fired after top sheriff’s brass described their initiation rites, tattoos and secret black book of shootings as the markings of a criminal street gang. It also revealed that four of those deputies had won back their sheriff’s badges -- and backpay -- over the objections of the department. This story came out of a tip gleaned from a careful analysis of payroll records, then fleshed out using court documents and insider tips.
(San Antonio Report, 2022) This was a story that could only be revealed through complex data analysis. Working class Hispanic neighborhoods were shifting toward Trump, bucking a nearly centuries-long political partisan affiliation. But proving so took a lot of work. Dirty data from the local elections board had to be cleaned up and refined using SQL. Then this was combined with census demographic data in R, using a technique called "aerial interpolation." A local university statistician vetted the process.
Adults with disabilities can be paid $3.30 an hour or less. Why pressure is building to end the practice
(San Antonio Report, 2022) Acting on a tip, I sought a database of employers licensed to pay workers sub-minimum wages. A local workshop for people intellectual disabilities stood out. This illustrates an approach I frequently take with databases: find outliers to use as illustrative examples, then zoom out to show the broader trends.
(San Antonio Report, 2022) A routine business story about a growing market for apartment investment led me to look at the data in a different way -- to spot potential bad actors. I followed up by visiting the apartments in person over several weeks. The apartment owner threatened to charge me with "trespassing" charges for talking to residents. After publication, tenant organizers in the complex credited the story with their success in unionizing residents, and a city councilman said it prompted code inspection reform.
(The Daily Times, 2019) In an open bid for what might be the county’s most lucrative private contract, the sheriff’s department has already signaled a winner. City Tele-Coin’s president donated thousands to the sheriff’s re-election campaign, and gave his college-age daughter a high-ranking job she had no previous experience in. This story came from a tip after I had previously reported on connections between the sheriff's campaign finances and contractors.
The Squeeze and the Spread: How a Blount County contract to rescue its health care fund is gutting local pharmacies
(The Daily Times, 2018)This series revealed how the county government's new insurance program pushed local mom-and-pop pharmacies to the brink of bankruptcy. It won the Associated Press of Tennessee's 2018 Malcolm Law Award for Investigative Reporting, and was also a finalist for the Tennessee Press Association's award for Investigative Reporting.
(The Liberty Hill Independent, 2017) A school district change to its enrollment policy could devastate property values for hundreds of homes.
(The Liberty Hill Independent, 2017) Local politics in the small but booming town of Liberty Hill were extremely contentious and divided between factions. I covered it as part of my first newspaper job, for which I was the only reporter at the publication.