About

Joshua Eaton (credit Hai-Lam Phan)

I’m an investigative reporter based in Washington, D.C.

One of my most recent investigations revealed that YouTube hosts dozens of videos on how to make untraceable, homemade “ghost guns” — three years after the platform said it was banning these types of videos. That story prompted senators to call on YouTube to better enforce its own gun policies.

Currently, I’m a researcher on the digital enterprise team at NBC News.  Before joining NBC, I was an investigative reporter at CQ Roll Call and ThinkProgress. My work’s also appeared at The Washington Post, ProPublica, The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The New Republic, FiveThirtyEight, Kaiser Health News, Al Jazeera America, The InterceptReligion News Service and more.

Impact and awards

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, cited my reporting during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., introduced new gun legislation based on my reporting in February 2020.

My stories have also led Congress to ask former Attorney General William Barr and former CIA Director Gina Haspel to clarify their testimony; resulted in disciplinary action against Judge William J. Martínez of the U.S. District Court of Colorado; prompted sexual misconduct investigations at a shelter for migrant children in Kansas, a Buddhist group in Colorado and a Christian college in Massachusetts; and been cited in a federal voting rights lawsuit and two Congressional Research Service reports.

I was one of the only reporters on the ground as torch-wielding white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus the night before the Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, Va. My on-the-ground reporting from the march was cited by Religion News Service, The Christian Century and the book “American Prophets.” I also make an appearance in Insider’s graphic novel about the rally.

Other outlets that have cited my reporting include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, NPR, Politico, Axios — and even The Late Show and Saturday Night Live.

Harvard Divinity School awarded me the Peter J. Gomes Distinguished Alumni Honors in 2021 for my reporting.

Skills and background

Many of my investigations are based on data and documents obtained through public records requests. I’ve brought successful lawsuits against the FBI and the CIA under the Freedom of Information Act, and I usually have dozens of open records requests at a given time.

I’ve done workshops on digital security and source protection for the GroundTruth Project, InsideClimate News, Texas Observer and ThinkProgress.

I have a master’s in Tibetan Buddhist studies from Harvard University and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of West Georgia. In between, I spent a year serving in AmeriCorps at the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

I’m a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Religion News Association.

The best place to follow my work is on  Twitter.