After losing a campaign to find a civic-minded owner for the Chicago Tribune and Tribune Publishing’s chain of regional newsrooms, in 2020 I joined the Better Government Association. There my articles revealed foster children locked in detention because DCFS couldn't place them, Chicago's dearth of programs for young carjacking arrestees, and failures in Illinois’ privatized Medicaid system.
In February 2023, I joined Injustice Watch, a nonprofit newsroom that exposes institutional failures in Illinois courts and government agencies.
I have done investigative reporting in the Middle East, Mexico and the Caribbean, and reported extensively from America's capital, but am most honored to have published high-stakes stories in the city where I was born and raised -- revealing Barack Obama's ties to dealmaker Tony Rezko, for example, or sending the Chicago Housing Authority chief and the city's biggest slumlord to federal prison with separate reports.
Past projects have examined coal mine safety violations, ties between organized crime and police, violent nursing homes, school food safety failures, the easy lives of international fugitives, rapes and prostitution in residential centers for troubled youth, reckless shootings by D.C. police, mortgage swindles by Chicago street gangs, the staggering prevalence of sexual violence in Chicago Public Schools and the high price rural communities pay for our cheap pork.
The work has taught me deep humility about a world packed with unexpected truths.
I believe that the truest index of a society's moral values is the way it treats its least powerful citizens. Curiosity drew me to this profession, but compassion holds me here.