We may be plunging back into recession, but the Star Tribune continues to hire! This time, they’re plumping out their investigative unit, adding Nashville Tennessean investigative editor and reporter Brad Schrade.
According to the staff memo (below), Schrade “will play a core role on our I-team as its watchdog ambitions expand and we put more emphasis on local investigative stories that have national implications and rely at times on intensive data reporting.”
I always look for “badges of honor” when it comes to I-guys, and a search turned up this little nugget: Schrade apparently dug so deeply into misdeeds at the Tennessee Highway Patrol that a patrol officer decided to dig deeply into the reporter’s driver’s license records.
Stuff like this generally shows a reporter is doing his job. You can check out Schrade’s body of work on his blog. He starts work here in September.
While I’ve critiqued a few of the Strib’s bigger investigations over the years, there’s no doubt the paper has upped its long-form game in recent months. I haven’t seen a Pulitzer winner, but fine data digs like missing fugitives, jailed debtors and the “Losing our Lakes” development series are exactly the sort of public-service journalism newspapers justifiably brag about.
Those stories are coming from various Strib reporting teams; Schrade will be working for investigations editor Jeff Meitrodt, whose name is on this memo along with managing editor Rene Sanchez:
The I-team gets a new member
We are delighted to announce that Brad Schrade will be joining our Investigative team as a reporter.
Brad is an exceptional journalist — a relentless reporter and gifted writer with a long track record of producing ambitious, award-winning investigative stories and public-interest projects that blend old-fashioned digging with sophisticated data mining and digital skills. He is currently a senior reporter and investigative editor at The Tennessean in Nashville.
During his 10 years in Nashville, where he began work as a beat reporter covering city hall then state government, Brad has produced one stellar investigative project after another:
He has exposed widespread corruption within the Tennessee Highway Patrol with a blitz of stories that forced the agency’s top management to resign and the governor to commit to reforms. He has examined the menacing spread of gangs across the heartland of Tennessee, and he has showed how legal loopholes in the state’s handgun-permitting laws were putting guns in the hand of violent felons.
Along with those projects, Brad has covered everything from the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City to the Florida presidential recount. Meanwhile, as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan in 2007-08, he examined the influence of money in politics. Brad is also a veteran of IRE’s computer-assisted reporting training camps.
Before moving to Nashville, Brad spent three years as a cops, courts and government reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He also has reported for The Augusta Daily Chronicle in Georgia. Brad graduated from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in history.
Brad will play a core role on our I-team as its watchdog ambitions expand and we put more emphasis on local investigative stories that have national implications and rely at times on intensive data reporting. He will start work in the newsroom sometime shortly after Labor Day.