A background in journalism

I started covering national politics at The Associated Press in the runup to the 1988 New Hampshire presidential primaries, including the collapse of Gary Hart's campaign. I probably was better known then though for my tenacious coverage of the Seabrook nuclear power plant as it fought for an operating license (and I was the only reporter in the control room when the reactor first split atoms).

I was promoted to AP's central news desk in New York in 1989 and as a national editor I sat in the hottest of hot seats. I filed breaking developments to AP wires worldwide during the first World Trade Center bombing, for which I shared in an AP Managing Editors Spot News Award. I sent bulletins when the Branch Davidian siege at Waco came to its fiery end. And I was sent to the Midwest to cover the epic 1993 floods (never mind the lack of running water in the Des Moines, Iowa, bureau).

I started doing survey research with exit polling in the 1994 midterm elections (the "Gingrich Revolution") but kept a hand in other interesting things at AP during election off-seasons. I delved into multimedia and database-backed journalism in the early days of the Web, helping develop premium services on the 1996 presidential election and 2000 Census. And I led an AP team that, within days of 9/11, deployed a widely used public database with victims' biographies and photos.

This background gives me a solid foundation for reporting and analyzing events, phenomena and data, with the speed of a news agency (AP's been doing "24/7" since the mid-19th century), technology sophistication and ability to present often complex facts in plain English. I've also found that my devotion to accuracy and attention to detail have transferred well from journalism to survey design and analysis since I began providing independent consultation in 2009.


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