Joshua Eaton (credit Kira Lerner)

I’m a reporter on the investigations team at Hearst Connecticut Media Group, where my work appears in newspapers and online across the state.

Before joining Hearst, I was on investigative and enterprise teams at NBC News, CQ Roll Call and ThinkProgress. I’ve also worked in various roles at ProPublica, GBH News, Spare Change News and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting (now part of GBH).

My work has also appeared in The Washington PostThe Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor, The New Republic, FiveThirtyEight, Kaiser Health News, Al Jazeera America, The Intercept and elsewhere.

I’m the first person in my immediate family to graduate from college and the first to have a professional career. My first job in journalism was selling papers at University of Georgia home games in middle school.

In addition to my reporting, I offer trainings for organizations on how to dig into public records.

Impact and awards

Since June 2023, I’ve been part of a team at Hearst that has been reporting on allegations of false and inaccurate ticket writing in the Connecticut State Police. Our reporting has helped lead to the resignation of the state’s two top public safety officials, a federal probe led by the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Unit and a six-month investigation that found “serious failures” at the agency.

My previous reporting at Hearst with colleagues Jacqueline Rabe Thomas and Brian Lockhart on lax compliance with public records laws in Bridgeport, Connecticut, changed how the city processes records requests and prompted the General Assembly to update the state’s Freedom of Information Act.

Our series on Bridgeport won the 2023 Stephen A. Collins Memorial Award from the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information.

My stories on cuts to the 211 housing emergency line and on former gubernatorial candidate Robert Stefanowski’s Saudi business ties also won second place in the government and investigative categories in the Connecticut chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists’ 2022 Excellence in Journalism Contest.

Much of my work before I came to Hearst also had broad impact.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, cited my reporting during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett in October 2020. Another story in the same series resulted in disciplinary action against Judge William J. Martínez of the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

In February 2020, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., introduced new firearms legislation based on my reporting about weaknesses in the gun background check system.

My stories have also led Congress to ask former Attorney General William Barr and former CIA Director Gina Haspel to clarify their testimony; prompted senators to call on YouTube to better enforce its own gun policies; led to 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 in August 2017 as torch-wielding white supremacists marched through the University of Virginia campus the night before the Unite the Right rally, in Charlottesville, Virginia. My 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.

My story with Gina Ciliberto on the Supreme Court’s ruling in Fulton et al. v. City of Philadelphia for Sojourners won an honorable mention in the 2021 Best of the Church Press Awards.

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

Outlets that have cited my reporting include The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, NBC Nightly News, NPR, Politico, Axios — and even The Late Show and Saturday Night Live. My series on Covid vaccine waste has also been cited in scientific journals.

Skills and education

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 led trainings on public records at NBC News, ThinkProgress, Boston University and American University.

I’ve also 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 with the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless.

I’m a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, where I mentor other reporters, and the Religion News Association.

The best place to follow my work is on  Twitter (or, if that falls apart, Blue Sky).