SARAH L. RYLEY  Investigative & Data Journalist


Freelance | New York, February 2020 - Present

Reporting on the U.S. response to Coivd-19 for New York Times Opinion Video, and on the pandemic’s economic impact on women for The Fuller Project, a nonprofit news outlet that reports on women.

The Trace, investigative reporter | New York, April 2017 - January 2020

Produced data-driven investigations on policing. My investigation on law enforcement’s failure to solve shootings, done in partnership with BuzzFeed News, helped free a man from prison and pushed the Baltimore Police Department to dedicate more resources toward solving shootings. Secured never-before released data and documents from numerous agencies, often by writing my own appeals. Obtained pro bono legal representation in four states, including from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The shootings data we posted has been utilized by numerous journalists and researchers.

New York Daily News, data projects editor | New York, October 2012 – April 2017

Started as courts editor, managing seven reporters. The editor in chief created a position for me as the data projects editor with three new hires for a team. I acted as a player-coach, contributing analysis and reporting, while coordinating all aspects of print and web production for multiple projects at a time. My reporting triggered numerous reforms, including nearly two-dozen laws. My series on nuisance abatement, done with ProPublica, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. My stories on stop-and-frisk, summonses, and farebeating arrests helped dismantle the NYPD’s “broken windows” policing strategy. Filled-in as the Sunday managing editor and ran data bootcamps attended by dozens of reporters.

The Daily, investigative producer | New York, November 2010 – October 2012

Produced quick-turn investigations on a variety of topics. My series on Homeland Security’s visa process relied on dozens of internal sources and was the subject of a congressional hearing and Inspector General investigation. My stories also contributed to the indictment of a corrupt small-town mayor, uncovered the return of second mortgages through government-backed financing, and tied key figures in the Jerry Sandusky molestation scandal to a real estate deal.

Freelance | New York, March 2008 - November 2010   

Wrote for The Real Deal, New York Post, Brownstoner, The Huffington Post and Anderson Cooper 360’s blog. My trend pieces for The Real Deal on New York City real estate and development included a first-ever analysis of 100 years of booms and busts in Manhattan real estate and uncovered a predatory one-stop scheme that was looked at by the feds.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, reporter | New York, September 2006 – March 2008

Wrote daily news stories and a real estate column; edited and laid out the weekly Brooklyn Record. Primarily dug into Brooklyn's billions of dollars in redevelopment projects, routinely breaking stories that impacted government decision-making. 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. 

Detroit News, reporting intern, business desk | Detroit, May 2006 – August 2006

Averaged two articles per week for the award-winning business desk, including five front-page enterprise stories and a series on how the immigration debate could impact Michigan’s economy.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, reporting intern | New York, May 2005 – September 2005

Covered major development projects, politics and local culture. Averaged an article per day, frequently scooping larger outlets. Took all photographs for my articles.

The Oakland Press, reporting intern | Troy, Mich., February 2005 – May 2005

Part-time internship on the features desk. Averaged four articles per week, including enterprise articles, profiles, and general assignment news. Wrote four front-page articles, including enterprise stories on wetlands destruction and medical bankruptcy.


CUNY Graduate School of Journalism | New York, September 2017

Taught a data bootcamp for CUNY J+, the continuing education arm of the journalism school.

The New School, part-time lecturer | New York, January 2016 – May 2016

Taught an investigative reporting lab class for a WNYC project on the judicial selection process. 

Guest lectures: Columbia University, New York University, Hunter College, Wayne State University 



​Wayne State University | Detroit, Journalism, B.A.

Named a distinguished alumna in 2018. Interned at the Detroit News, Oakland Press and Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Offered full-time jobs at The News and The Eagle. Editor-in-chief, managing editor and opinions editor for student daily. Awarded a journalism scholarship. 

Michigan State University | Lansing, Mich., Environmental Policy

Agnes Scott College | Atlanta, English & Comparative Religion


John Jay/ Harry Frank Guggenheim criminal justice reporting fellow, 2017


- 2020, Deadline Club/SPJ, The Les Payne Award for Coverage on Communities of Color, finalist (TBA), "Free to Shoot Again"

- 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"



- 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


Advanced: R (cleaning, analysis, mapping, charts), Excel, Tableau, OpenRefine

Beginner: HTML, CSS, SQL


- CHiPS Soup Kitchen, waitress & kitchen worker (monthly food coop shift)

- The Art Students League of New York, sculpting

- PADI-certified scuba diver (Zanzibar, Colombia, Belize, Cuba, The Bahamas)

- Trekking (Appalachian Trail, USA; Mount Nebu, Kashmir; Shan Hills, Myanmar; Torres del Paine, Chile; Kumano Kodo, Japan)