Hello — I’m Isaiah Thompson; welcome to my website, where you can find recent work as well some pieces from over the years. I live in Philadelphia, am from Chicago and a proud gradate of the Chicago Public Schools, and am a journalist who’s spent the last eight years or so focused on investigative and public interest journalism for such fine news outlets as Pro Publica, This American Life, the Philadelphia City Paper, and Miami New Times.
I’ve covered such disparate and fascinating topics as metal scrapping, the gambling industry, fracking, fatal police shootings, city politics, island-bound sex offenders, civil forfeiture and more. I try to do journalism useful to the communities I write for. All of the reporting you’ll find here is original, unless otherwise cited; I don’t rewrite or re-report other peoples’ work.
I’ve been honored to win several awards for my work, including (but, for the record, not limited to):
The Larry Weiss Award for Investigative Journalism and Finalist, Investigative Reporters and Editors for ”The Cash Machine,” an investigation of civil forfeiture practices in Philadelphia. The reporting has since made its way to such venues as CNN, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, Slate.com, among others. The reporting also informed a class action lawsuit, now in litigation, against the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. (2012)
The Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) award for my series about sex offenders sent by the state to live under a bridge when a new, restrictive ordinance made living almost anywhere else impossible. (2008)
2012 grantee, the Fund for Investigative Journalism to investigative civil forfeiture.
The Society of Professional Journalists award for: Political Reporting (1st Place, 2008) for “The Fishtown Effect,” about (sometimes openly prejudiced) whites voting for Obama; the SPJ’s award for Public Service Journalism (1st Place, 2010)
The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Keystone Awards for: Investigative Reporting (1st Place, 2009) for my investigation into the less-than-forthright funding behind a new soccer stadium outside of Philadelphia; News Feature (1st Place, 2010) for an expose of internal memos warning about leasing Pa. forest land for drilling; and Column (1st Place, 2010) for my slightly-ridiculous but always fun column, “Man Overboard!”
You’ll find these and other samples of my work here; I hope you enjoy what you find.