Updates from recent FIRE recipients
Since 2016, FIRE has supported more than 175 freelance reporters on a wide range of stories, including winners of a Peabody, Spotlight award, Society of Professional journalists’ Lisagor award, Frontline Club award, Bart Richards Award for Media Criticism; and finalists for five others.
Below we've tracked some recent reporters, (and their FIRE program) noting the work that resulted—as profiled by FIRE where marked.
- Sexual-Misconduct Allegations
Alison MacAdam (Legal Consultancy) edited a Murrow-winning investigation into alleged sexual misconduct by an addiction-treatment leader, for NHPR, March 2022, as profiled here and in previous anonymity here.
- Right-wing Radio
Katie Thornton (Reporting Consultancy) revealed one company’s role in transforming talk radio into a bastion of right-wing commentary conducive to election lies, in a Peabody winning podcast for WNYC, November-December 2022, as profiled here.
- Policing the Police
Daryl Khan and Clarissa Sosin (Virtual Newsroom) secured extensive public records to document flaws in the internal review of brutality complaints against the Baton Rouge Police Department, for Verite News, April 2023
- Medical Insurance Fraud
Rene Ebersole (Legal Consultancy) detailed how a convicted chiropractor’s office had defrauded Medicare and other insurers of tens of millions of dollars in ways that endangered patients, in one case fatally, for AARP, June 2023
- Mining Bribery
Daniel Balint-Kurti (Legal Consultancy) reported on the bribery conviction of a billionaire mining magnate seeking to exploit iron ore in Guinea, in three stories for OCCRP, August-September 2022
- Suspected Scamming of Scientists
Michele Catanzaro (Legal Consultancy) exposed evidence that organizers of research webinars during the pandemic went after scientists for illegitimate speaking fees, in Science, July 2023, as profiled here.
- Syrian Human Rights
Shannon Van Sant (Legal Consultancy) reported on the Russian disinformation targeting the humanitarian White Helmets and its co-founder, for Politco, April 2023
- Immigrant Detention
Tom Ferraro (Virtual Newsroom and Legal Consultancy) revealed the extent to which private prison companies use taxpayer funding to extract profits from labor practices that have triggered class-action lawsuits, for In These Times in July 2022, profiled here.
- Police Liability
Rowan Moore Gerety (Legal Consultancy) uncovered the work of a private company outfitting hundreds of police departments with policy manuals to reduce liability for alleged misconduct, for Esquire, March 2022, profiled here.
- Pet Industry Research
Helen Santoro (Legal Consultancy) investigated the fraught involvement of the pet-food industry in Food and Drug Administration research, for 100Reporters and the Associated Press , July 2022.
- Nursing-home Ownership
Jared Whitlock (Virtual Newsroom and Legal Consultancy) lifted the veil on a nursing-home chain's use of corporate ownership and bankruptcy to painful effect for families, for Boston Globe’s Stat News, August 2022, profiled here.
- Phillipine Farmland Killings
Nick Aspinwall (Reporting Consultancy), while researching his FIRE-assisted story, provided a ground-level view of farmers killed under a new Marcos government resistant to land reform, for AlJazeera, July 2023.
- Illuminating a Power Source
Loren Steffy (Legal Consultancy) explored the ambitious claims of a renewable-energy company, for Texas Monthly January, 2022.
- A Closer Look at Infant Formula
Christina Szalinski (Comprehensive Consultancy) contracted with an outlet to publish an infant-formula investigation with FIRE's help. When the outlet folded, Szalinski went on to report related stories at Kaiser Health News, The Atlantic, Undark, and CBS/Kaiser, in 2022.
Reporter Updates 2021
- Alleged Sexual Misconduct
Alexandria Bordas (Legal Consultancy) exposed alleged sexual misconduct in California's wine country in the San Francisco Chronicle, April 2021, as profiled here.
- Legacy of Abortion Restrictions
Betsy Joles (Reporting Consultancy) documented how the residue of anti-abortion restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance has undermined reproductive care in Pakistan, in Foreign Policy, May, 2021.
- Unearthing Water Issues
Rachel Layne (Legal Consultancy) broke new ground on the implications of a massive aquifer drawdown near the Great Lakes, for the trade publication Water and Wastes Digest, September 2021.
- Cross-border Financial Corruption
Jason Buch (Comprehensive Consultancy) unearthed cross-border money-laundering that highlighted the role of U.S. banks, for the Texas Observer, November, 2021.
- Feeding Fish Farms
Ian Urbina (Virtual Newsroom and Legal Consultancy) dove deep into the ocean-depleting consequences of Chinese-managed fish farms, for the New Yorker, March 2021, profiled here.
Reporter Updates 2018-2020
- Ayo Awokoya (Editorial Consultancy/Virtual Newsroom 2018)
Released an investigation with co-reporter Tobias Jones on the exploitation of majority-African migrant labor to grow Italian produce. Their story appeared in the Guardian UK in 2019, winning a Frontline Club award.
- Cat Ferguson (Editorial Consultancy 2017)
Became a 2018 Livingston Award finalist for her 2017 Verge report on exploitative rehab referrals, which leverage online marketing to direct patients to low-quality private facilities.
- Natasha Gilbert (Editorial Consultancy 2016)
Released a December, 2019 story with Stat News on how waste products from pharmaceutical factories contaminate waterways.
- Gretchen Rachel Hammond (Editorial Consultancy 2018)
Produced a five-part series on corrupt guardianship laws in Michigan, in 2019, which was a finalist in the 2020 Chicago Society of Professional Journalists (Lisagor) awards.
- Natasha Haverty (Editorial Consultancy 2017)
Created a podcast on prison gerrymandering, the practice of incorrectly counting inmates in the census for political gain, for Reveal in 2020.
- Karen Landman (Editorial Consultancy 2020)
Delivered an October, 2020 story on the creation of Georgia's faulty COVID-19 dashboard and its consequences, for Atlanta magazine.
- Scott Morris (Editorial Consultancy 2019)
Released a series, published by ProPublica in June 2020, on California businesses that profit from negligent disposal of toxic waste.
- Christopher Pala (Virtual Newsroom 2018)
Wrote on toxic pesticides causing illness in Hawaii for the Earth Island Journal in late 2020.
- Emily Pamler (Virtual Newsroom 2016)
Conducted an investigation with co-reporter Jessica Huseman on how Child Protective Services in every state fail to comply fully with national law, winning the Boston Globe Spotlight Award and publishing in the Globe in December, 2019.
- Kira Zalan (Virtual Newsroom 2018)
Parlayed her FIRE-supported reporting into an August, 2020 piece, published with co-reporter Emmanuel Freudenthal in OCCRP, that used flight data to uncover the powerful role of private contractors in perpetuating U.S. airstrikes in Somalia.
While continuing to develop their FIRE-supported investigations, the following reporters released these additional stories:
- Ali Alibrahim (Editorial Consultancy 2019)
Wrote on the plight of medically vulnerable communities in Syria and Turkey in light of COVID-19, including increased violence against people with special needs, as well as a retrospective on the assassination Raed Fares and its legal implications, all published in 2020.
- Clair MacDougall (Editorial Consultancy 2019)
Published a story on the difficulties facing journalists in Burkina Faso for Columbia Journalism Review in November, 2020.
- Natalia Megas (Editorial Consultancy 2019)
Covered COVID-19 in three stories in the Guardian in 2020, including one documenting the experiences and deaths of healthcare workers on the frontlines.
- Alden Wicker (Editorial Consultancy 2019)
Released a November, 2020 story in the New York Times with co-reporter Elizabeth Paton on the collapse of the fashion empire built by Indian designer Manish Arora.