Lauryn Schroeder

Enterprise Data Reporter


I’m an award-winning investigative reporter with eight years of reporting experience, and I get overly excited about analyzing city compensation data. I’ve spent more than one Friday night sifting through government emails to find out why a project is over budget. When records requests take too long, I look forward to visiting a department in person, citing public records laws and politely requesting hard copies.

As the data specialist for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Watchdog team, I specialize in leveraging data, public records and confidential tips to produce impactful investigations in a fast-paced environment. My coverage of the fire department’s overtime and annual leave usage led to major reforms within the department and helped end loopholes in fire union contracts with the city.

My story in July 2016 revealed that U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-San Diego) and his family were involved in a series of donation exchanges with the families of other congressional candidates that allowed Peters to side-step contribution limits and boost fundraising appearances. Further analysis showed Peters’ deceased father-in-law had made donations to the campaigns of other congressional candidates.

In addition to my own reporting, I update and maintain internal databases, and work with reporters across the newsroom on in-depth projects and investigations. As part of the CrimeCounts team, I analyze millions of crime incidents in San Diego to identify areas where the city-wide decline holds true and where it doesn’t. Our first-of-its-kind series gives a street-level view of violent crimes and brings the numbers closer to the perspective of individual residents, business owners and community advocates.

I previously worked as a contracted reporter for The Associated Press, covering the legislative session at the Indiana Statehouse. While writing multiple stories each day about legislation and committee hearings, I covered then-Gov. Mike Pence’s administration and its efforts to create a state-run news source, its opposition to needle exchange programs during a H.I.V epidemic, and the passage and subsequent revision of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

I received a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and began working as a contracted investigative reporter for The Medill Justice Project (MJP), a journalism organization at Northwestern that examines potentially wrongful convictions and criminal-justice issues. At MJP I worked in partnership with The Washington Post on a year-long investigation into shaken-baby syndrome, a highly controversial diagnosis that has led to hundreds of questionable, abuse and murder convictions nationwide.

My responsibilities included reporting on previously-investigated cases and managing a shaken-baby syndrome database of more than 3,000 potential incidents. I verified case information through extensive court searches, sharpening my research and fact-checking skills. My analysis of the data found that certain areas in the country had higher rates of shaken-baby syndrome cases than others. The story won a regional Society of Professional Journalists award and went on to become a SPJ Mark of Excellence finalist. The entire series received a 2013 IRE Award and the Chicago Headline Club’s Peter Lisagor award.

I received a bachelor's degree from Michigan State University, specializing in visual communications. Highlights include:

  • Working for MSU's award-winning paper: The State News

  • Assisting the MSU Plant and Soil Science Department with the herbicide research in the lab and greenhouses

  • Living in Spain during a study abroad program and working with some of the best informational graphic designers

  • Summer reporting internships at the Bay City Times and the Jackson Citizen Patriot

Loves: Spartan football, rock climbing, traveling, cheese, photography, fruit by the foot, loose-leaf tea, Lake Michigan beaches, all the other beaches, nutella, front porches, people watching, tasty beer, playing dungeons and dragons, chicken-pot pies and spending time with friends and family.

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