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 32-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 and a later post where I tried to articulate key principles. In a nutshell: celebrating the journalism that educates and engages readers on the realities of crime, and on what it means to be “smart on crime” rather than just “tough on crime.”
- 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 © 2014, Mark Obbie, LLC.