Connor Sheets

Investigative Reporter

Connor Sheets

St. Clair Correctional Facility, Alabama, 2017 - Credit: Joe Songer, AL.com

 

Link to one-page PDF resume

 

Experience

Los Angeles Times, Investigative & Enterprise Reporter
Los Angeles, CA - Sept. 2021-Present

  • Reporting on a wide range of issues concerning Californians.

Alabama Media Group, Investigative Reporter
Birmingham, AL - Jan. 2015-Present

  • Published a series on misconduct by Alabama's "Beach House Sheriff" that led to his electoral defeat, prompted federal, state and local investigations, and spurred state and local lawmakers to pass laws barring sheriffs from taking jail food money.
  • Uncovered a discriminatory ventilator triage protocol, prompting state and federal action.
  • Wrote a story co-published by The Guardian that drove Alabama to clarify its felon disenfranchisement policies, thereby restoring the voting rights of thousands of felons who had been improperly denied the franchise solely because they owed court fees, fines or restitution.
  • Produced a news app that revealed the financial incentives associated with Alabama's commissary system, drove the state to reduce prison store prices, and led to a man's release from prison
  • Exposed severe understaffing at Alabama's death row prison, prompting the state to boost staffing levels.
  • Exposed an unconstitutional felon identification regime that discriminated against Black felons.
  • Revealed that the University of Alabama funneled "dark money" to state political campaigns.
  • Worked with a colleague to expose a scandal that led Alabama's secretary of state to end his 2022 Senate bid.
  • Served on a small team that led the reporting that eventually drove Gov. Robert Bentley to resign in disgrace.
  • Broke the story of beloved author Harper Lee's death.

ProPublica Local Reporting Network, Reporter
Birmingham, AL - Jan. 2019-Dec. 2019

IBT Media / Newsweek, Senior Reporter
New York, NY - Oct. 2011-Jan. 2015

TimesLedger Newspapers, Staff Reporter
Queens, NY - Oct. 2009-Oct. 2011

  • Published several investigations that spurred action by politicians and developers.
  • Created niches covering immigrant communities, real estate, and federal terrorism trials.

The Gazette, Staff Reporter
Frederick, MD - March 2008-Sept. 2009

  • Covered key beats including Frederick County government, crime and business.

 

Awards

National Headliner Awards
Press Club of Atlantic City - 2021 (Journalistic innovation), 2020 (Health, medical & science writing) & 2019 (Investigative)

Sigma Delta Chi Awards
Society for Professional Journalists - 2020 (Public service) & 2019 (Investigative)

Sidney Award
Sidney Hillman Foundation - 2019

Roy Bain Distinguished Special Achievement in Journalism Award
Auburn University - 2019

Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, Finalist
University of Southern California - 2019

Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, Finalist
Harvard University - 2019

Worth Bingham Award for Investigative Journalism, Finalist
Harvard University - 2019

Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, Finalist
University of Michigan - 2019

Tom Renner Award, Finalist
Investigative Reporters & Editors - 2019

Michael Kelly Award, Finalist
Atlantic Media - 2019

James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism, Finalist
Hunter College - 2019

Green Eyeshade Awards,
Society of Professional Journalists - 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 & 2016

Innovation of the Month,
Editor & Publisher - 2018

New York Better Newspaper Contest, Writer of the Year
New York Press Association - 2011

Eagle Scout Award
Boy Scouts of America - 2001


Education

University of Maryland
B.A. from Philip Merrill College of Journalism, 2007.

 

Fellowships & Grants

Initiative in Reporting on Race and Criminal Justice grant - Ira A. Lipman Center for Journalism and Civil and Human Rights, Columbia University - 2021

  • Received funding to spend six months investigating the criminalization of poverty in Alabama and co-produce a documentary project to accompany my reporting.

Justice Reporting Fellowship - John Jay College of Criminal Justice - 2021-2022, 2020-2021 & 2018-2019

  • Investigated prisoners sent to solitary confinement in Alabama, resulting in multiple stories including one on the link between solitary confinement and the state's prison suicide crisis.
  • Received criminal justice journalism training and support from John Jay College.

Reporting the U.S. Workplace - Sidney Hillman Foundation & CUNY - 2020

  • Learned about workforce issues and received labor reporting training.

Journalist Law School - Loyola Law School - 2019

  • Learned about American law and its intersection with journalism over the course of this intensive four-day fellowship program.

Reynolds Journalism Institute Fellowship - University of Missouri - 2016-2017

  • Created the Deputy Program, an open-source initiative aimed at fostering community engagement and providing newsrooms with techniques to train and engage citizens to pitch stories and provide information about their communities.
  • Implemented the Deputy Program in the AL.com newsroom, which involved recruiting, training and deploying a team of news "deputies" across Alabama.
  • The Deputy Program was Editor & Publisher's April 2018 Innovation of the Month and has been heralded by organizations including the American Press Institute and the Poynter Institute.

Fellowship on Immigrant Children and Education - Georgia State University - 2016

  • Developed a multi-part reporting project that matched human stories with Alabama's unique migration trends following the state's passage in 2011 of S.B. 56, at the time the nation's harshest anti-immigration law.

U.S.-Nigeria Exchange Program - International Center for Journalists - 2013

 

Skills

    Confident:

  • FOIA & public records
  • Audience engagement
  • Excel & Google Sheets
  • Photoshop & Illustrator
  • Music & audio production
  • SQL
  • SEO
  • Proficient:

  • Photography
  • Web scraping
  • HTML & CSS
  • Learning:

  • Python
  • Data visualization
  • Video editing
  • Video game/app production