I am a writer and editor specializing in legal affairs journalism. I freelance full time for a variety of sites and publications. In 2014-15, I am a Soros Justice Media Fellow writing a series of stories for Slate that I explain in this series of posts.

During most of my 33-year career I have covered cops and courts, drugs and violent crime, legal policy, and a variety of business-and-law topics. Most of those years I was an editor. Starting in 2004, I have reported and written stories as a freelancer, first in my off-hours when I wasn’t teaching and since mid-2012 as a full-time writer (go here for more details on where I’ve worked and here for links to my recent work).

In addition to magazine freelance, I’ve written an e-book, selected by Amazon as a Kindle Single and titled God’s Nobodies, expanding on my feature article in O, The Oprah Magazine about a murder in Syracuse.  I’m a contributing editor at The American Lawyer magazine and a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Investigative Reporters and Editors, and Criminal Justice Journalists.

On this site, I:

  • Blog about the sorts of writing I admire and on the issues I write about and care about. Here’s the inaugural post explaining the genesis of this, a later post where I tried to articulate key principles, and an updated mission statement on my latest focus. In a nutshell: celebrating the narrative journalism that educates and engages readers on the realities of crime and criminal-justice policy.
  • Blog about my new projects.
  • Outline the editing and coaching services I can provide.
  • Provide samples of my work.
  • Outline my professional bio and provide my CV.
  • Link to other sites I produce or follow.
  • Give a glimpse of my life in New York’s Finger Lakes.
  • List my contact info.

In 2006, I created LawBeat to blog about legal reporting as a way of hooking my students on legal affairs journalism (alas, that site and legal-reporting program are gone). Over its three-year run, the site gained a following among legal-affairs journalists based on its daily critiques of good and bad reporting about the law. I do not intend this latest blog to be Son of LawBeat (though that has a nice ring to it). But now and then I will dabble in legal-journalism critiques. Mostly I intend to use this site to track developments in the policy areas I care about — namely victim rights, restorative justice, prisons and sentencing, and the intersection of law, politics, and the media — and to point to examples of fine narrative journalism that illuminates those issues.

All material I produced on this site © 2015, Mark Obbie, LLC.

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A writer and editor on law, crime, and business