Kirsten Danis : Criminal Justice Watchdog, Editor Extraordinaire

Kirsten Danis : Criminal Justice Watchdog, Editor Extraordinaire

by Elizabeth K. Stone

SAN MARCOS, TEXAS – Behind every successful online journalism newsroom, there lies a great editor. The Marshall Project is a nonprofit organization focusing on criminal justice issues across the United States. Their managing editor, Kirsten Danis was in San Marcos this week for Texas State University’s Mass Comm Week.

Originally from Massachusetts, Danis began her career as an obit writer in New Jersey. Her vast experience ranges from being a deputy editor at the Wall Street Journal to the managing editor at the New York Daily News. Today, Danis continues her work for the Marshall Project and was just recently the proud recipient of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize Award in Explanatory Journalism.

The Marshall Project was created by former hedge fund journalist,  Neil Barsky. With a passion for both investigative journalism and criminal justice, Barsky designed a site which incorporates the two. The main focus of the website is to address issues with and surrounding the criminal justice system in America. With the help of the journalists, the Marshall Project has been able to develop credibility between both law enforcement and inmates alike.

One of the features of this website is an interactive digital visualization media piece called, “The Next To Die.” The format allows the viewer to see the next person that is  scheduled for execution and includes all states which currently practice the death penalty. The page is consistently updated and also includes a click-through into a brief description of the inmate and the crime he or she committed.

This sight includes in-depth articles and can sometimes address the controversial issues surrounding incarceration. Developing stories like these can help advocate for those who cannot fight for themselves.

As Danis concluded her final seminar of Mass Comm Week, she had some great information to offer the next generation of up and coming investigative journalists.

“The most important tools you can use as a journalist is to listen to what people have to say and talk to as many sources as you can,” she said.

For more information on ‘The Marshall Project‘ click the link below:




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