SARAH L. RYLEY Investigative & Data Journalist
The Trace, investigative reporter | New York, April 2017 - present
Investigative reporter covering urban gun violence and policing.
New York Daily News, investigative & data reporter | New York, Oct. 2012 – April 2017
I started at The News as the courts editor, directly managing seven reporters and running ~15 stories per day. Eventually, I became the data projects editor, built a team of four data journalists and interactive developers, and ran data training courses attended by dozens of reporters. I also produced investigative stories that consistently led to reform. My series on the NYPD's use of the nuisance abatement law, done in partnership with ProPublica, led to 13 new laws, an internal review of cases, and a class action civil rights lawsuit. My data-driven series exposing vast racial disparities in summonses and a surge in farebeating arrests became the subject of two of the city council speaker’s State of the City addresses, and triggered the passage of the Criminal Justice Reform Act, along with internal reforms to the NYPD's ”broken windows" policing tactics. My story revealing the mayor’s plan to resume construction of a new jail on Rikers Island contributed to him backing the movement to close the island complex. A series on police misconduct lawsuits that I led as an editor resulted in the creation of several units to analyze the cases.
The Daily, investigative producer | New York, Nov. 2010 – Oct. 2012
Produced investigative stories for News Corp’s national tablet publication, traveling around the country and to Haiti. I also helped produce animations, videos and interactive graphics for my stories. My series on flaws in Homeland Security’s visa process relied on dozens of internal sources and records, and was the subject of a congressional hearing and an inspector general investigation. My investigation on a corrupt small-town mayor contributed to his indictment. I also uncovered the return of second mortgages through government-backed financing and unraveled a real estate project that tied together key figures in the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
Freelance | New York, March 2008 - Nov. 2010
Wrote stories for The Real Deal, New York Post and Brownstoner from New York; and The Huffington Post and Anderson Cooper 360’s blog from Haiti. I routinely broke news and filed monthly data- and document-driven trend pieces that were considered on the precipice of understanding the real estate downturn in New York. I produced the first-ever analysis of 100 years of booms and busts in Manhattan real estate and single-handedly pieced together a predatory one-stop scheme that was looked at by the feds.
Brooklyn Daily Eagle, reporter | New York, Sept. 2006 – March 2008
Wrote daily news stories and a real estate column, and edited and laid out the weekly Brooklyn Record. I primarily dug into the borough's billions of dollars of development projects, routinely breaking stories that impacted government decision-making and were picked up by larger outlets. My investigations helped save an Underground Railroad home from eminent domain, led to the firing of a high-level state development official, and hastened the construction timetable of Brooklyn Bridge Park.
CUNY Graduate School of Journalism | New York, present
Taught a data bootcamp for CUNY J+, the continuing education arm of the journalism school.
The New School, part-time lecturer | New York, Jan. 2016 – May 2016
Taught an investigative reporting lab class, funded by a Knight Foundation grant, for a WNYC project on the judicial selection process.
Wayne State University | Detroit, Journalism, B.A.
Interned at the Detroit News, Oakland Press and Brooklyn Daily Eagle. I was offered full-time jobs at The News and the Eagle. I also served as editor-in-chief, managing editor and opinions editor for the student daily and was awarded a journalism scholarship. Named a distinguished alumna in 2018.
Michigan State University | Lansing, Mich., Environmental Policy
Agnes Scott College | Atlanta, English & Comparative Religion
John Jay/ Harry Frank Guggenheim criminal justice reporting fellow, 2017
AWARDS & HONORS:
- 2019, Online News Association, Innovation in Data Journalism, finalist, "Free to Shoot Again"
- 2019, February Sidney Award, "Free to Shoot Again"
- 2018, Wayne State University Arts Achievement Awards, Distinguished Alumna
- 2017, Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Print/ Online - Large, finalist, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, National Association of Black Journalists, Online Project, finalist, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, MOLLY National Journalism Prize, honorable mention, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, Deadline Club/ SPJ, Minority Focus Omnibus Award, finalist, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2017, Deadline Club/ SPJ, Local Reporting, finalist, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2016, ONA, Knight Award for Public Service, finalist, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2016, May Sidney Award, "The NYPD is running stings against immigrant-owned shops, then pushing for warrantless searches"
- 2016, Newswomen’s Club of New York, online depth reporting, "Nuisance Abatement"
- 2016, New York State Associated Press Association (NYSAPA), first prize, depth reporting, "Fight for their Future"
- 2015, Deadline Club/ SPJ, Minority Focus Omnibus Award, "Broken Windows"
- 2015, NYSAPA, first prize, depth reporting, "Broken Windows"
- 2015, NYSAPA, first prize, continuing coverage, "Eric Garner"
- 2015, NYSAPA, second prize, depth reporting, "They died at the hands of cops"
- 2014, Newswomen’s Club of New York, Nellie Bly Front Page Award, "Beyond Broken"
- 2014, Newswomen’s Club of New York, best multimedia package, "The Homicide Project"
- 2014, NYSAPA, first prize, online presentation, "Stop-and-Frisk"
- 2014, NYSAPA, first prize, depth reporting (editor), "Stain on the Badge"
- 2011, National Association of Real Estate Editors, first prize, commercial real estate, "100 Years of Booms and Busts"
SPEAKING & WORKSHOPS:
- 2019, National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR) conference, "R1: Intro to R and R Studio", "R2: Data Analysis and Plotting in R" and "Turning Data Into Human Stories"
- 2018, Columbia University, Freedom of Information Requests Brown Bag
- 2018, Columbia University, Public Data Day, "An Introduction to Public Data"
- 2018, Wayne State University, Master Class
- 2018, NICAR, "I'm Entitled to a Spreadsheet, Darnit!" and "Intro to OpenRefine"
- 2017, Columbia University, "2016 Pulitzer Seminar: Exposing injustices around the world"
- 2017, Hunter College, "Not the Enemy of the People: The Future of Local Investigative Reporting"
- 2017, United Nations, "Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies"
- 2017, NICAR, "Building Your Own Database", "Data Analysis with Tableau" and "The Art and Science of the data story comment request"
- 2017, Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) watchdog workshop, "Intro to Data Journalism"
- 2016, Harvard, Justice & Poverty Project Media Workshop
- 2016, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Bridging the Divide panel "Nuisance Abatement And Broken Windows"
- 2016, IRE conference, “Rolling Your Own Data”
- 2016, NICAR, “Lightning Fast Data Analysis with Tableau"
- 2015, NICAR, “Lightning Fast Data Analysis with Tableau I & II”
- 2014, Newsroom, data training workshops in Excel, Access and OpenRefine
Proficient: R, Excel, Tableau, OpenRefine, Access, CartoDB
Beginner: HTML, CSS, SQL, ArcGIS, SPSS