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

Recent News

Obama’s weak approach to pardons

When it comes to the pardon power, President Obama is still more talk than action. According to the most recent Justice Department data, he has granted only one pardon for every 29 petitions that have come before him, fewer than any of the past seven presidents. Last week, he signed 22 commutations, but his record on those is even more dismal because he has such a staggering backlog, the biggest of any president in U.S. history. It is a backlog that he and his administration invited.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Fighting in-house censorship

One of the occupational hazards for investigative reporters everywhere is internal censorship. So what can you do, as an individual journalist, if it appears that the great, exciting, investigative story you’ve been quietly exploring and finally have pitched is getting yawns or worse, pushback from your editor?

The future of TV news

Viewers nationwide mostly get local traffic, crime, weather and sports news, while local investigative reporting about the powers that be — and straight talk, facts and figures about the serious 21st century issues we all face  — generally have become endangered species.

Blogs

Most Recent Posts

What we're reading

Philip Meyer wrote " “Public Journalism and the Problem of Objectivity ” 20 years ago but it still offers lessons for the new digital age. 

Food safety: 'The Trouble with Chicken' airs in May

FRONTLINE investigates the spread of dangerous pathogens in our poultry — and why the U.S. food-safety system isn't stopping the threat. Preview our co-production, which airs May 12.

Small steps, real impact

We looked three investigations in which we contributed research and reporting to Washington Post teams and found three different outcomes. And very real impact.


Students help Post analyze decline of black wealth

Thanks to Workshop and AU students Danielle DeCourcey, Justin Warren, Pietro Lombardi, Mariam Baksh, Mel Jones, Miranda Strong and Moriah Balingit, and Northwestern student and Workshop intern Cathaleen Chen, for their work in today's Washington Post on the plight of the black middle-class in Prince George's County, Md. Today's piece is the second in a three-part series.

Donald receives 2014 Philip Meyer Award

The Workshop's data editor, David Donald, and a team at the Center for Public Integrity today received the first-place 2014 Philip Meyer Journalism Award from the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting.

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.