McGraw Fellows Have Productive Streak

  • By Newmark J-School Staff

Three veteran reporters supported by the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism have had their investigative stories published in recent weeks.

The stories deal with subjects as varied as rider safety for Uber and Lyft in California,  questionable expenditures by the Memphis police department, and the fast-growing market for fertility services.

Here is a rundown:

Seth Rosenfeld — San Francisco Public Press 

This one’s been a long-time coming. We awarded Rosenfeld the Fellowship early last year, but he had to wage a many, many months-long FOIA battle with the California Public Utilities Commission to get access to what are supposed to be publicly available reports from Uber and Lyft on rider safety.

When Rosenfeld finally got the data in September, the reaction was swift. It essentially showed that the PUC was paying no attention to the data; they apparently never noticed huge discrepancies in how the two firms compiled their data, effectively limiting its usefulness and undermining the PUC’s ability to ensure the safety of riders. Just days after releasing the data to Rosenfeld, the PUC demanded the two firms clarify how they’d compiled the five years of data. The story was widely cited in California and legislators have begun calling for  reforms in the PUC’s oversight of the ride-share companies.

California Failed to Consistently Track Ride Hailing Harassment and Assault Complaints 

Officials Demand Reform on Uber, Lyft Assault Reports: Response to our investigation of how agency monitors complaints about drivers 

Matt Stroud — The Daily Memphian

Stroud’s story, too, depended on the release of previously non-public data. In the wake of last year’s calls to defund the police, Stroud set out to take a closer look at how U.S. police departments are spending their money and how effective that spending is. His first story details how Memphis has spent millions on Sky Cop cameras — bought from a company represented by an influential former Memphis police officer  — that have done little to reduce crime.

10 Years. $10 Million. 2,100 Sky Cop cameras. And a crime increase of 57%

Anna Louie Sussman — The Cut (New York Magazine) 

Sussman’s piece for The Cut is the third story of a series she has written on the fast-growing fertility industry, which has attracted hundreds of millions in investments as entrepreneurs and medical providers have created markets for fertility services that barely existed a decade or two ago.

The Ethics of Egg Freezing and Egg Sharing: For some women, planning for the future means co-creating someone else’s present

Would You Freeze and Share Your Eggs? (Podcast)