Catherine Rentz

Catherine Rentz

Phone: (202) 329-1029

I’m a journalist and documentary filmmaker in residence at American University in Washington DC. Here at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, I’ve worked as a co-producer and then producer on the PBS FRONTLINE documentaries Flying Cheap (2009), Flying Cheaper (2011), Lost in Detention (2011) and The Digital Campaign (2012 election special with PBS NewsHour) and as a reporter on The Education of Michelle Rhee (2013).  I also produce long-form investigations for the New York Times, NPR and other media. 

At Hedrick Smith Productions, I worked as a researcher, associate producer and then field producer on the PBS FRONTLINE documentaries Can You Afford to Retire? (2006), Spying on the Home Front (2007) and Poisoned Waters (2009).

I have degrees in journalism from The University of Missouri (MA) and finance from The University of Texas at Austin (BBA with a minor in French). I spent an amazing year in France studying at a business school called l’École supérieure de commerce de Paris. While in graduate school, I worked at IRE’s National Institute of Computer-Assisted Reporting and at the Indianapolis Star with a Pulliam fellowship. Born and raised in Texas, I’ve lived in the Washington D.C. region since 2006. 

Stories written by Catherine Rentz

Recent News

IRW launches interactive on antibiotic resistance

The Investigative Reporting Workshop's new multimedia project features videos from previous FRONTLINE programs that uncover the stories of dangerous superbugs and failed antibiotics. "Nightmare Bacteria: Life Without Antibiotics" is an interactive feature that allows viewers to learn about the consequences of the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and food-animal farming.  

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Coverage of arming teachers

Over that last eight years, interest in arming teachers with guns is the result of school shootings. News coverage and Google searches reflect these trends. 

'Sunshine Week' comes to DC

The Society of Professional Journalists is hosting "Sunshine Week" from March 11-17 in the District. The initiative promotes open government and the importance of journalists' access to information. You'll find highlights of the schedule here.


Most Recent Posts

Questions of environmental justice take center stage

The intersection of the First Amendment, environmental justice and racism was the focus at a recent National Geographic event, “Environmental Justice: What’s Next?” 

A NICAR newbie goes to Chicago

Data journalism is still new to me. Despite that, I decided to dive in head first and attend the recent NICAR conference in Chicago. It was one of my best experiences as a journalist so far. The conference led me to think about alternative sources for data — even for hidden communities. 

Apprehensions at U.S.-Mexico border down from 2017

The number of people apprehended or denied entry into the U.S. dropped from 2017.

Donations to nonprofit newsrooms continue to grow after 'Trump bump'

Despite his persistent claims of fake news and shoddy reporting, President Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the media has actually provided a much-needed financial boost for many nonprofit,  investigative journalism organizations across the country.

Students join WAMU reporter in long-form storytelling

WAMU reporter Patrick Madden teams up with graduate students from American University’s Investigative Reporting Workshop to create long-form pieces online and on-air for WAMU FM 88.5, and other publishing and audio partners, including Reveal News and NPR.

Students help Madden research, fact-check and gather information for stories, such as the  “Assault on Justice” project in 2015, which ooked at whether police were overusing the charge of assaulting a police officer. 



Workshop Partners

We publish online and in print, often teaming up with other news organizations. We're working now on a new program with FRONTLINE producers, to air later in the year, and on the "Years of Living Dangerously," a series on climate change that has begun airing on Showtime. A story last year on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention centers was co-published with The New York Times. Our updates to our long-running BankTracker project, in which you can view the financial health of every bank and credit union in the country, have been published with, now, and we co-published stories in our What Went Wrong series on the economy with The Philadelphia Inquirer and New America Media. Our graduate students are working as researchers with Washington Post reporters, and our new senior editor is a member of the Post's investigative team. Learn more on our partners page.


Investigating Power update

Investigating Power update

Profiles of notable journalists and their stories of key moments in U.S. history in the last 50 years can be found on the Investigating Power site. See Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis' latest video interviews as well as historic footage and timelines. You can also read more about the project and why we documented these groundbreaking examples of original, investigative journalism that helped shape or change public perceptions on key issues of our time, from civil rights to Iraq, here.