An American true crime investigative journalist and producer, focusing on unsolved crimes, citizen detectives, and crowdsolving, I’ve written crime stories for Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Magazine, Boston Magazine, and the New York Times. Referred to as an expert on amateur digital detectives by both MSNBC and Al Jazeera America, I presented the panel “Solving Murders With Social Media” at the SXSW Interactive and the National Cybercrime Conference. During the day you can find me working as a supervising producer and special investigator at the Warner Bros. program Crime Watch Daily, where I run all digital operations for the program. At night, you can find me working on my next case, representing justice so far as my feeble powers go.
In the past, I co-founded the Long Island Press newspaper, True Crime Report, and the largest public unsolved murders database. I earned a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Kansas and played professional roller hockey (earning the first minor penalty in Major League Roller Hockey history). I am also a sought after digital media consultant, having been general manager of Buzzmedia and head of digital at Village Voice Media, overseeing the digital transformation of 17 alternative weeklies.
How I Work
You know in hockey that one guy who takes one last shot at the goalie’s glove to try and jar the puck loose after the whistle? That’s me. I love doing that. Everyone gets pissed. I get roughed up. I draw penalties. I get in their heads. It’s nothing personal, and these guys who want to take my head off, bully me. But I am just trying to show one thing. I will keep going. Punch me. Spear me. Cut my face open. I will keep going. I approach everything the same way—from a story that needs to be told to a project that needs to be built. The truth/money/opportunity is the puck. The guy holding it is the obstacle. And me? I’m the guy that is going to keep jabbing at it until it goes in. And you jab at it long enough–it goes in.
I have spent the last 15 years of my life telling stories, building audience, and earning revenue for media companies—from newspapers to websites to TV stations to production houses. I am a digital media executive with a proven track record of audience and revenue growth as well as a storyteller who has focused on telling the tales of unsolved crimes.
How I got started
In 1996, I was on my way to a career as a religious studies academic, focusing on new religious movements, which the media refer to as “cults.” I focused on the Christian Apocalyptic groups of the central United States, while at the same time was founding and playing for the University of Kansas hockey team. In the Spring, I got a call that my father was going into heart surgery. So I left Kansas with a master’s degree, and went home to save the family house painting business.
While climbing up and down the ladders, breathing in asbestos dust and scraping paint off foundations, I needed a creative outlet. So I started a zine—The Fight Card, which chronicled every punch of every fight The New York Islander enforcers engaged in during the 1996-97 season.
I would build them on an old mac, print and staple them at Kinkos, then hand them out at games, often leaving them in the bathroom stalls for some pugilist reading pleasure for a lucky fan.
At the same time, The Village Voice was launching an edition of their paper on Long Island. The editor saw The Fight Card, and offered me a single story for the first issue. I took it, and never looked back. I kept pitching and writing, shuffling between sports, entertainment, and crime stories.
I earned my first cover story in the spring of 1997. Dad was back to full health, and I took leave from house painting to play professional roller hockey. Earning the first penalty in league history, I was a scrub, and saw limited playing time. But I could play with those guys, and got a few pucks in the net.
In 1998, my father passed away, a month after my daughter was born, and two weeks after my cover story “My Dad Kicked Your Ass at Shea, a Baseball Memoir” was published. I was 25 with no safety net. I gave up pro hockey, and started working full time as a listings assistant, then listings editor. I hustled by reporting for the New York Times on the weekends. I penned more than 10 cover stories, but more importantly, began learning the business side of journalism. In 2000, the paper was shuttered. It broke my heart.
Two years later, I helped start the Long Island Press newspaper. Each week featured a True Crime section, and our stories helped catch rapists and murders, change legislation and take down powerful media companies. After a brief stint as editor in Boston, where the cover story “The Worst Homicide Squad America” chased the Boston police chief out of town—all the way to Ireland—I went to Village Voice Media to build a digital business around 17 weekly newspapers, including the Village Voice and the LA Weekly. I built the content strategy, along with the UX for the sites and apps skyrocketed digital audience and revenue.
Now I am merging my experience as a digital leader with my storytelling to reinvent the way True Crime Stories are told through the use of television, mobile and web. As I did while a reporter, I focus on the missing and the unsolved. Just because a story doesn’t have an ending, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be told.
And my 15 years of proven success in the content, monetization and product fields has led me to consulting media companies who want to build products and content that will bring them major audience growth and return on their investment.
Drop me a line at email@example.com