About Us

About CJJ

Criminal Justice Journalists is the first national organization of journalists who cover crime, court, and prison beats. We have members from magazines, newspapers, television, and online sites, as well as book authors and freelancers. It was founded by Ted Gest, then of U.S. News and World Report, and David Krajicek, who has covered crime at several newspapers, including the New York Daily News.

Board of Directors

Alicia Caldwell

In 2017, Alicia Caldwell joined the Wall Street Journal as a reporter based in Los Angeles, covering immigration. For seven years, she had been a Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Associated Press. For the previous five years, she was based in El Paso, Tx. for AP, covering crime along the U.S./Mexico border, immigration, the U.S. Army, and other news in West Texas. She started her career on the crime beat as a two-year intern with the Philadelphia Inquirer and has also covered crime for the Arizona Republic and the Orlando Sentinel. She is a 1998 graduate of the University of Arizona and earned a master’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University in May 2000. Caldwell was the second place finalist in the Houston Press Club’s print journalist of the year competition for 2006.

Mark Curriden

Educated as a lawyer, Curriden was the legal affairs writer for The Dallas Morning News from 1996 to 2002. In June 2002, he joined Vinson & Elkins, a Texas law firm that represents The Dallas Morning News, CBS News and specializes in First Amendment litigation. Curriden was a lawyer-media strategist at the firm until 2011.  From 1988 through 1994, Curriden was the legal writer for the Atlanta Constitution. He has been a contributing writer for the American Bar Association Journal since 1988. He has won numerous journalism awards, including the American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award and the American Judiciature Society’s Toni House Award. In November 1999, Farrar Straus & Giroux published his book “Contempt of Court: A Turn of t he Century Lynching that Launched 100 years of Federalism.”

Mark Fazlollah

Fazlollah retired from the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2019, having worked for the newspaper since 1987. He has taken part in several projects that have won national awards, including a 1999 series on the underreporting of rape (Selden Ring Award) and a 1998 series on the underreporting of crime in Philadelphia (Roy Howard Award), as well as the George Polk Award and the National Association of Black Journalists’ award for investigative reporting. Before joiniixng the Inquirer, he was a reporter in Mexico for United Press International and a Latin America correspondent for the Daily Telegraph of London.

Ted Gest

Gest covered the White House, Justice Department, Supreme Court and legal/justice news during a 23-year career at U.S. News & World Report. A native of St. Louis, Gest began his career there at the Post-Dispatch, where he covered criminal justice, including the federal and state court beats. A co-founder of CJJ, he has been cited by the National Council on Crime and Delinqency, and he won an American Bar Association Silver Gavel Award. Gest’s book on criminal justice policy, “Crime and Politics,” was published in the summer of 2001 by Oxford University Press. In 2016, his “Understanding Crime and Justice Statistics” (with Daniel Lathrop) was published by Investigative Reporters & Editors.

Sadie Gurman

Gurman is a Washington, D.C.-based reporter for the Wall Street Journal. In her career, she has covered some of the biggest breaking news of the day while developing exclusive, hard-hitting stories from all corners of the criminal justice system. She previously worked as a law enforcement reporter for The Associated Press, both in Washington, D.C. and Colorado, where she covered the most pressing issues in modern policing as well as terrorism, mass shootings and the challenges of Colorado’s trailblazing experiment in legal marijuana. She was the AP’s lead reporter on the months long Colorado theater shooting trial. Her work on that story and others made her a finalist for AP’s prestigious John L. Dougherty Award, honoring exemplary work by a staffer 30 or younger. Before joining AP, Gurman covered police and public safety for The Denver Post, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Rockford (Il.) Register Star.

David Krajicek

A native Nebraskan, Krajicek was a crime reporter at newspapers in Omaha and Iowa and was police bureau chief of the New York Daily News. A former Columbia University journalism professor, he now works as a writer based in the Catskill Mountains. He writes “The Justice Story” for the Daily News and contributes to other publications. He is the author of a nonfiction book, “Scooped! Media Miss Real Story on Crime While Chasing Sex, Sleaze and Celebrities” (Columbia University Press). Publication of his first novel, “Poovey’s Grove,” is pending. Krajicek is co-founder of CJJ.

Marisa Lagos

Marisa Lagos covers California politics and government for KQED radio. For eight years, she was a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and previously worked for the San Francisco Examiner.

Mark Obbie

Obbie is a freelance journalist focused on criminal justice and is the criminal justice specialist at Solutions Journalism Network. His recent work has appeared The Atlantic, The Trace, Slate, The New York Times, Longreads, Politico Magazine, Pacific Standard, TakePart, and many more. After daily newspaper work covering cops and courts in Warren, Ohio, and Houston, Obbie spent 17 years at American Lawyer Media, where he was editor of Texas Lawyer newspaper, manager of the company’s online division, and executive editor of The American Lawyer magazine. Obbie taught journalism full-time for eight years at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, where he ran a legal-reporting program and co-founded the Institute for the Study of the Judiciary, Politics, and the Media.

William K. Rashbaum

Rashbaum has covered the New York Police Department and crime in New York, writing about a range of state and federal agencies, for The New York Times since 1999, serving initially as the newspaper’s police bureau chief. Before that, he covered crime and criminal justice issues for the New York Daily News, where he wrote longer, investigative stories, New York Newsday, where he also served as police bureau chief, Reuters, UPI, and the Hearst Newspapers.

Ruben Rosario

Born in Puerto Rico, Rosario for many hears was a columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, writing primarily about criminal justice and public safety issues. Since joining the paper in 1991, he  worked as day city editor, special assignment writer and team leader for public safety. Rosario directed Knight Ridder’s newsroom internship program and assisted in recruiting. A graduate of Fordham Unversity, he has won many awards for his work at the Pioneer Press and the New York Daily News, where he spent more than a decade covering law enforcement and the courts.

Jonathan Schuppe

Jonathan Schuppe is a writer for NBC News. He formerly covered Manhattan as a reporter/producer for DNAinfo.com. His forthcoming book about a Newark, N.J. Little League team won the 2010 J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award, given by the Columbia Journalism School and the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Until December 2008, he was a reporter at The Star-Ledger in Newark, N.J., where he covered politics, government and inner-city crime. He also shot and edited news videos for the paper’s website, nj.com. He was part of a team of reporters awarded the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for breaking-news coverage of Governor James E. McGreevey’s resignation. In 2008, the University of Colorado and the Denver Press Club honored him with the Al Nakkula Award for Police Reporting.

Kevin Vaughan

Vaughan stumbled into the newspaper business after taking a journalism class in high school. He was editor of his high school and college newspapers, spent a summer as a reporter at the Las Vegas (N.M.) Daily Optic, and graduated from Metropolitan State College with a degree in journalism. He has spent more than 20 years as a reporter in Colorado, first with the Fort Morgan Times and then the Fort Collins Coloradoan before coming to the Rocky Mountain News in 1997. He has written about everything from the Columbine tragedy to the World Series and from Colorado’s wildfires to the Olympics. In 2007, the Rocky published his 34-part serial narrative “The Crossing” – the longest story in the paper’s history. The serial, which recounted a 1961 bus crash that killed 20 children, was a finalist in the 2008 Pulitzer Prizes. After the Rocky Mountain News folded, Kevin moved to the Denver Post and then to Fox Sports. He now is a reporter for KUSA-TV in Denver.

Deb Halpern Wenger

Wenger teaches in the journalism department at the University of Mississippi. She previously  worked in local television news for 17 years, most recently as assistant news director at WFLA-TV in Tampa. There, she helped launch a web-based interactive crime map and data base that allows users to search crime reports by address and zip code. As executive producer at WSOC-TV, in Charlotte, N.C., she supervised the Carolina Crime Solutions project, a civic-journalism effort to cover potential solutions to local crime problems. In 2002, Wenger joined Virginia Commonwealth University as Associate Professor for Media Convergence and New Media. She also serves as a newscast consultant for Media General Broadcast Group.

Brandt Williams

Williams has covered the city of Minneapolis for more than 25 years. For more than eight years, he has worked in the Minnesota Public Radio News Minneapolis bureau covering city and county government, public safety, courts and racial disparities. Williams has produced investigative stories on gun violence in Minneapolis and its disparate impact on the black community. He also has written and produced stories on the historical and ongoing rift between members of the black community and the Minneapolis Police Department. He has won regional and national awards, including a Silver Gavel, an Eric Sevareid and a Salute to Excellence Award from the National Association of Black Journalists. He was a finalist for the Scripps Howard Foundation’s National Journalism Award. He was a 2004 Knight Fellow and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2011 ad 2015. Before coming to MPR in 2000, Brandt was the executive editor of Insight News, the state’s largest African-American-owned newspaper. He graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree i Speech Communications in 1991. 

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