FIRE's editorial team works with a stable of experienced contract editors. The team is advised by a small group of editorial advisors.

FIRE's Selection Committee, which selects reporters for the Virtual Newsroom, is composed of award-winning journalists representing Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), three journalism schools, and an assortment of national print and broadcast outlets.

FIRE Editorial Team

FIRE Editor Ted Bridis

Investigative Editor: Ted Bridis

Ted Bridis previously spent 11 years as editor of the Pulitzer-winning investigative team for The Associated Press in Washington. During that time, his team won the Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award, the Anthony Shadid Award for Journalism Ethics, the Society of Professional Journalism Ethics in Journalism Award—and the Pulitzer and Goldsmith prizes for investigative reporting on NYPD intelligence programs in 2012. Bridis is now the Rob Hiaasen Lecturer in Investigative Reporting in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida.

FIRE Editor Sahar Habib Ghazi

Deputy Investigative Editor: Sahar Habib Ghazi

Sahar Habib Ghazi, a Karachi-based journalist and journalism trainer, is a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships applicant reviewer, an ex-New York Times contributor, and the producer of The Disposable Ally, a documentary series examining U.S. funding on the war on terror. From 2012 to 2018 Ghazi was managing editor of Global Voices, where she built systems and nurtured communities to produce reporting on marginalized issues in 150 countries in 30 languages. 

FIRE Director Laird Townsend

FIRE Director: Laird Townsend

Laird Townsend is an Associated Press-trained journalist and award-winning investigative reporter and editor. Before founding FIRE's predecessor, Project Word, in 2007, he was features editor at Orion magazine. His own multi-year investigation of labor allegations against GMO seed-corn companies won the 2017 Peter Lisagor award of the Society for Professional Journalists, Chicago, for Best Investigative/Public Service Reporting, online.

FIRE Legal Services

On a rolling-deadlines basis, FIRE is accepting applications for customized contract-related legal assistance from the veteran media attorneys below.


FIRE Pro bono attorneys

Charles Glasser

Glasser, a veteran newsroom and First Amendment attorney and libel defense litigator, is an ex-journalist and the former global media counsel at Bloomberg News. Currently a lecturer at City University of New York Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, and an adjunct professor at New York University Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, he is author and editor of “The International Libel and Privacy Handbook” (Fifth Edition, 2020-2021, Lexis/Nexis).

Henry Kaufman

Kaufman has been a nationally-recognized leader of the publishing and media law bar for more than three decades. Formerly general counsel of the Association of American Publishers, Kaufman served as founder and former general counsel of the Libel Defense Resource Center (now the Media Law Resource Center). His current practice focuses on litigation and transactional matters for a variety of media, specializing in both First Amendment and Intellectual Property law.

Cameron Stracher

Stracher a 30-year veteran media and entertainment lawyer who currently works in private practice for a range of clients including the Daily Mail and MailOnline, has served as former litigation counsel at CBS, partner at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, Senior Vice President at Media Professional Insurance (now Axis), and General Counsel at American Media, publisher of National Enquirer and Us Weekly. Stracher was co-founder of the Program in Law & Journalism at New York Law School. 


Editorial Advisors

The Braintrust

FIRE depends on the following editorial professionals for occasional guidance:

Maud Beelman

Journalism professor and founding executive editor of the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School; previously war correspondent and U.S. investigations editor for The Associated Press; deputy managing editor for investigations and enterprise at The Dallas Morning News; and founding director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Tom Bettag

Eleanor Merrill Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland; former executive producer of the CBS Evening News and ABC News Nightline; recipient of 30 Emmys, two Peabody awards, six DuPont silver batons, and the Fred Friendly First Amendment Award.

Alfredo Corchado

Mexico City bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News; recipient of the Maria Moors Cabot prize from the School of Journalism at Columbia University for “extraordinary bravery and enterprise”; visiting fellow at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University since 2008; and author of Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter’s Journey.

Margaret Engel

Executive Director of the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation, which supports investigative journalists and photojournalists worldwide; advisor to the Fund for Investigative Journalism; chair of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards board; and former reporter for the Washington Post, Des Moines Register, and Lorain (Ohio) Journal, whose work has been nominated four times for the Pulitzer Prize.

Cynthia Gorney

Contributing writer at National Geographic and New York Times Magazine; former Washington Post reporter and freelance writer for Harper’s, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and other publications; author of Articles of Faith: A History of the Abortion Wars; and faculty member at the University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.

Mark Horvit

State Government Reporting director and associate professor of investigative journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism; board member for the National Freedom of Information Coalition; previously executive director of Investigative Reporters and Editors, projects editor at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and reporter at newspapers in Texas, North Carolina, Missouri, and Florida.

Brant Houston

Knight Chair in Investigative & Enterprise Reporting, College of Media, University of Illinois; journalism textbook author (Computer-Assisted Reporting: A Practical Guide and the co-authored Investigative Reporter’s Handbook); Treasurer, Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting; former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors; and award-winning investigative reporter at daily newspapers for 17 years.

Carrie Lozano

Director of the Enterprise Documentary Fund at the International Documentary Association (IDA); producer of Academy Award-nominated documentary The Weather Underground, and Al Jazeera America’s Peabody Award-winning Fault Lines series; director of the film The Ballad of Fred Hersch; graduate of the documentary program of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Dana Roberson

Senior Producer for PBS NewsHour Weekend; former producer at New York Public Radio/WNYC for the daily national news program "The Takeaway"; over 25 years' experience in television news, collaborating on CBS 60 Minutes and Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt; Peabody Award winner for her breaking coverage of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

Mark Schapiro

Veteran investigative journalist and freelancer for Harper’s, Atlantic, Newsweek, and other publications; former senior correspondent at the Center for Investigative Reporting; author, most recently, Carbon Shock: A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of a Disrupted Global Economy; and lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley School of Journalism.