My Work

(This is a hand-picked selection of my stories for NYT’s Express Team, which focuses on our digital audience and is not bound by any particular beat or section. For more recent examples of my work, see a full archive of my stories here.) 

The goal here is to use plain language in making complicated issues seem simple, and serve as guides that can remain useful long after publication.

What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone? (2/14/17)
The New York Times
Amid rising complaints of aggressive border searches of digital devices, I assembled the advice of privacy experts and one man who had recently been searched.

Why You Probably Won’t Get to Use Your Ticketmaster Vouchers (6/21/16)
The New York Times
Many people were excited to discover they were offered free or discounted tickets, but the conditions were baffling.

Daylight Saving Time: Why Does It Exist? (It’s Not for Farming) (3/11/16)
The New York Times
It’s a common question each time we have to change our clocks, and I found some actual answers.

Traditional Reporting:
While reporters on the Express Team sometimes gravitate toward nontraditional fare, I must also be ready for the more typical demands of the newsroom.

Milwaukee Inmate Died After Being Deprived of Water for 7 Days (4/25/17)
The New York Times
Several jail employees were later charged with abuse in the death of Terrill Thomas.

Texas Rape Victim Was Jailed for Fear She Would Not Testify, Lawsuit Says (7/22/16)
The New York Times
Her story had received little national attention but proved shocking to our readers.

‘Making a Murderer’ Left Out Crucial Facts, Prosecutor Says (1/5/16)
The New York Times
Hot takes about the Netflix series were plentiful at the time, but one of the first interviews with a key figure brought new information to the discussion.

Bringing Depth to Viral News:
Covering trending topics and major discussion areas doesn’t have to be a soulless traffic grab. When I write about “viral” stories, even on deadline, I always try to add original reporting, needed context and fresh writing.

Step Aside, Ellen DeGeneres: The New Retweet Champion Is a Nugget-Hungry Teenager (5/9/17)
The New York Times
The lede set the tone for a story, which included an interview with the teenager, that recognized the event as a legitimate cultural moment, even if a cosmically meaningless one.

Clinton to Trump on Twitter: ‘Delete Your Account’ (6/9/16)
The New York Times
Readers told me they immediately wanted to hate this considering the topic — which is understandable — but ended up appreciating the approach.

‘Jeopardy!’ Run Ends for Cindy Stowell, Cancer-Stricken Champion (12/21/16)
The New York Times
I anticipated the end of a much-watched run, having interviews with her boyfriend, a competitor and a fan ready to publish.

Breaking News:
A big part of the Express Team mission is to publish a breaking news story as quickly as possible, then build it out throughout the day.

United Airlines Passenger Is Dragged From an Overbooked Flight (4/10/17)
The New York Times
We first published this as it picked up steam as a discussion topic on social media, and it later became a front-page story.

Pepsi Pulls Ad Accused of Trivializing Black Lives Matter (4/5/17)
The New York Times
It quickly became clear this was not just another flash-in-the-pan Twitter outrage.

Experimenting With Voice and Format:
The Express Team has the freedom and mandate to experiment with how we present our stories, and I have taken advantage.

You Will Not Win the Powerball Jackpot (1/12/16)
The New York Times
Instead of a dry, math-based explainer, I put on my best wet blanket and delivered some hard truths.

When I’m Mistakenly Put on an Email Chain, Should I Hit ‘Reply All’ Asking to Be Removed? (9/1/16)
The New York Times
The shortest story in the history of The New York Times, this received widespread plaudits (and looked great in print). Here’s an interview about how it happened.

Let’s Talk a Millennial Into Getting a Flu Shot (10/7/16)
The New York Times
We transformed a newsroom argument into a truth-squadding takedown of a brave coworker who explained why he refuses to get flu shots.

Spotting Fun Stories:
I have nothing insightful to say about these. They were just fun and I wanted to include them.

Lack of Oxford Comma Could Cost Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute (3/16/17)
The New York Times
When searching for a story that would likely be shared a lot, I knew serving grammar nerds some catnip would work well.

‘Calling Sweden. You Will Soon Be Connected to a Random Swede, Somewhere in Sweden.’ (4/8/16)
The New York Times
A nice bit of whimsy that benefitted from the rare first-person voice, featuring one of my favorite kickers.

Microsoft Created a Twitter Bot to Learn From Users. It Quickly Became a Racist Jerk. (3/24/16)
The New York Times

Social projects:
Each of these were long-term efforts that brought readers into the news-gathering process. (Disclaimer: I contributed to these projects but can’t and wouldn’t take sole credit for them.)

A Storm Still Felt (10/27/13)
The New York Times
One year later, trying to find people whose lives were still significantly changed due to Hurricane Sandy was made much easier through an on-site callout. We picked through hundreds of submissions to highlight these strong stories with additional reporting.

4:09:43 (4/22/13)
The New York Times
We sought to tell the stories of the people in an image of the Boston Marathon finish line at the moment of the first bomb’s detonation. Using a blog post and form, paired with creative social searching, we found four of the 19 sources for an interactive feature, including the lead story.

If TV Stations Won’t Post Their Data on Political Ads, We Will (3/20/12)
TV stations have detailed public data that’s accessible only by physically visiting the office. Broadcasters resisted efforts to put the files online. So we enlisted readers nationwide to visit their local stations, make copies of the files, then scan and email to us to post. Over 500 people were willing to contribute.

New York City in 17 Syllables (4/25/14)
The New York Times 
Just a fun one. We invited readers to write original haiku about New York City, and the result was this beautiful presentation.

ProPublica Patient Harm Community (Spring 2012)
Two reporters were investigating the harm that befalls people as a result of medical malpractice. As part of the reporting process, we created this Facebook group to surface sources and information, while at the same time providing a service to people who have been harmed.