Catherine Rentz

Catherine Rentz

Filmmaker-in-Residence
Phone: (202) 329-1029
crentz@american.edu

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

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Asian journalists wrestle with new rules

Indonesia, the Philippines and South Korea news organizations face new challenges online as their governments now include internet activity in their regulatory structures. What used to be a niche for independent media has instead become a new battleground for freedom of expression. 

Seven signs Cuban media is moving toward openness

While it’s too soon to tell if a true sea change is in the works, here are seven relatively recent shifts in the Cuban mediasphere. Many of them would have seemed inconceivable just a few years ago and bear watching in the future.

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

Islamophobia in focus: Panel confronts American media bias against Islam

Journalists and scholars of Islam explored the bias Muslims face and how the media influences both public opinion and global politics. 


New Trump biography reveals a complex picture

Washington Post staffers talk about "Trump Revealed," the new book by Michael Kranish and Marc Fisher that draws on a team of reporters and fact-checkers who looked into the presidential candidate's life and his worldwide travels, his hotel-rebuilding successes and his investment failures in Atlantic City casinos. The Post also makes hundreds of documents available for readers to see for themselves how they reported the story.

What we're reading: In-depth stories covering a wide range of topics

In this investigation the Food & Environment Reporting Network looks into how oil palm plantations have not only threatened rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia but also opened doors to poachers. The story is one of several a young reporter has been following in his immersive year into investigative reporting.

Charge of assaulting an officer narrows in DC

Last fall, formal legislation was introduced by the D.C. Council to narrow the definition of what constituted an assault on a police officer. The council committee that crafted the language in the bill cited "Assault on Justice," an investigation by WAMU-FM, the Investigative Reporting Workshop and Reveal of the Center for Investigative Reporting, for prompting the reform.

In March 2016, the bill finally became law. A look at how the change unfolded.

CIA whistleblower files health complaint in prison

The biggest surprise of the Barack Obama presidency to me and to many others has been what I have called “the unexpected national security obsessiveness” of his administration. Since 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice has repeatedly used the draconian 1917 Espionage Act to prosecute journalists’ sources, effectively criminalizing investigative journalism. Or as James Goodale, The New York Times’ lead lawyer during the seminal Pentagon Papers case put it in his recent memoir, “Obama has used the Espionage Act to indict more leakers than any president in the history of this country.” No president’s administration in the past century — indeed, all of them combined — has prosecuted more whistleblowing sources using the Espionage Act than the Obama administration.

 

Partners

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 msnbc.com, now nbcnews.com, 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.

Projects

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.