Jacob Fenton

Jacob Fenton

Director of Computer-Assisted Reporting

Jacob Fenton is a 2015-16 Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University. Formerly he worked as Editorial Engineer at The Sunlight Foundation. During 2010 and 2011 Fenton was Director of Computer-Assisted Reporting at the Workshop, where he analyzed data for investigations; maintained the servers and backend code that power Banktracker and the rest of the site; and built web applications, databases and interactive maps and graphics.

Projects built by Jacob Fenton

Projects maintained by Jacob Fenton

Recent News

Racial politics flavor debate over banning menthol cigarettes

Lorillard Tobacco donated nearly four times as much to Republican candidates as to Democrats in the 2014 congressional elections. No surprise there — most businesses count on Republicans to hold the line on regulations and taxes.

But Lorillard made a striking exception for one set of Democrats: African Americans. It gave campaign cash to half of all black members of Congress, as opposed to just one in 38 non-black Democrats, according to an analysis by FairWarning of records from the Center for Responsive Politics. To put it another way, black lawmakers, all but one of whom are Democrats, were 19 times as likely as their Democratic peers to get a donation.

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

Latest from iLab

Can students save journalism?

Can nonprofit organizations and universities save journalism? Are they able to publish quality news and maintain high standards while preparing the next generation? The Workshop's former scholar-in-residence from Norway spent a year studying the issue. See her initial findings about what's working as she heads to the Global Investigative Journalism Conference this week in Lillehammer. 

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?


Most Recent Posts

How the media can support whistleblowers

Can whistleblowers safely express concerns about their agency within internal channels? Do a whistleblower’s motives matter? Edward Snowden, New York Times reporter James Risen and whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack talked about their experiences at a Newseum event Tuesday.

Researchers collect data to reform policing

How powerful are crowdsourcing, surveys and data collection? One mom calling for police reform in her South Bronx neighborhood told the White House how "public science" is changing lives.

Combating seafood fraud

One of the things we do at the Investigative Reporting Workshop is explore how different academic disciplines can enrich and inform investigative journalism. A talk this week on seafood fraud sponsored by AU’s interdisciplinary ECOllaborative provides a case in point. Kimberly A. Warner, senior scientist for the ocean conservation group Oceana, described her organization’s efforts to combat widespread global seafood fraud.

'120 Days' shows heartbreaking reality of immigration

Director Ted Roach's "120 Days" introduces viewers to the plight of the Cortes family in North Carolina, where immigration laws and procedures challenged a family's standing in the community. The award-winning documentary will be screened on Thursday at American University's Washington College of Law as part of the Human Rights Film Series.

How to use social media to combat hate

Can social media be used to combat hate speech — or does it foster it? That was the question this weekend during one of the workshops at The Parliament of the World’s Religions, an international, interfaith gathering.


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.


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.