Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan

NPR investigative reporter

Laura Sullivan is a NPR News investigative correspondent whose work has cast a light on some of the country's most disadvantaged people.

Sullivan is one of NPR's most decorated journalists, with three Peabody Awards and two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Batons. She joined NPR in 2004 as a correspondent on the National Desk. For six years she covered crime and punishment issues, with reports airing regularly on “Morning Edition,” “All Things Considered” and other NPR programs before joining NPR's investigations unit.

Her unflinching series "Native Foster Care," which aired in three parts on All Things Considered in October 2011, examined how lack of knowledge about Native culture and traditions and federal financial funding all influence the decision to remove so many Native-American children from homes in South Dakota. Through more than 150 interviews with state and federal officials, tribal representatives and families from eight South Dakota tribes, plus a review of thousands of records, Sullivan and NPR producers pieced together a narrative of inequality in the foster care system across the state. In addition to her third Peabody, the series also won Sullivan her second Robert F. Kennedy Award.

"Bonding for Profit" – a three-part investigative series that aired on Morning Edition and All Things Considered in 2010 – earned Sullivan her second duPont and Peabody, as well as awards from the Scripps Howard Foundation, Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and the American Bar Association. Working with editor Steve Drummond, Sullivan's stories in this series revealed deep and costly flaws in one of the most common – and commonly misunderstood – elements of the US criminal justice system.

Also in 2011, Sullivan was honored for the second time by Investigative Reporters and Editors for her two part series examining the origins of Arizona's controversial immigration law SB 1070.

For the three-part series, "36 Years of Solitary: Murder, Death and Justice on Angola," she was honored with a 2008 George Foster Peabody Award, a 2008 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and her first Robert F. Kennedy Award.

In 2007, Sullivan exposed the epidemic of rape on Native American reservations, which are committed largely by non-Native men, and examined how tribal and federal authorities have failed to investigate those crimes. In addition to a duPont, this two-part series earned Sullivan a DART Award for outstanding reporting, an Edward R. Murrow and her second Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media.

Her first Gracie was for a three-part series examining of the state of solitary confinement in this country. She was also awarded the 2007 Daniel Schorr Journalism Prize.

Photo by Linda Fittante

Recent News

Amid rush to deploy driverless cars, federal regulators urged to keep hands on the wheel

The era of driverless vehicles appears to be rapidly approaching, raising a bevy of urgent questions about how to prevent the emergence of new hazards on the nation’s roads.

So how much preparation have federal transportation authorities carried out to meet the challenge of the advent of self-driving cars and trucks? Not nearly enough, according to a new 44-page report by the Government Accountability Office, a Congressional watchdog agency.

After a long hold out, tobacco companies to issue mea culpas

In a matter of days, the American tobacco industry will begin publicly admitting some ugly truths about its dark history and the health effects of smoking.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Offenses in youth centers send teens to adult prisons

A ProPublica reporter wondered why a Southwest Illinois juvenile facility was sending teenage inmates to adult prisons. Here's the story behind the story.


Blogs

Most Recent Posts

Explore The Workshop's 2017 holiday gift guide

This year's holiday gift-giving guide will impress those journalists in your life who love swag (and irony).

Science march film will turn on scientists turned political candidates, leaders

A new documentary will tell stories about scientists who want to counter the Trump administration’s “war on science." Director Larry Kirkman, who teaches at the AU School of Communication, shares his vision for the film, along with his "work-in-progress" video featuring footage from the March for Science on April 22.

A shortlist of fall media

The autumn news cycle boiled over like some Northwestern river amid a peak salmon run. Here are exceptional examples of storytelling I’ve spent time with in the last few weeks. They pinball and rebound between the most salient topics in media of the moment: extreme wealth, the White House and race.

FRONTLINE, IRW launch new fellowship

The PBS series FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop (IRW) at American University’s School of Communication announce a new journalism fellowship.

Barriers still keep disabled voters from polls

Nearly 28 years since the passing of the American’s with Disabilities Act, some polling places and voting systems still are not accessible.

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.