I’m indebted to a number of people who were generous with their time in providing feedback and helping me to think through and shape the ideas presented here. I’m grateful to those whom I interviewed about their experience reverse engineering stories, including Rob Barry, Michael Keller, Scott Klein, and Jeremy Singer-Vine, and to experts in investigative journalism who helped me contextualize my findings, including Sheila Coronel, Chase Davis, and Alyssa Katz. An early version of this paper was presented at Columbia University in December 2013 to three panelists, Scott Klein, Cathy O’Neil, and Cliff Stein, whose collective feedback greatly improved the work. I’ve also benefited from the intellectual environment at the Tow Center at Columbia University, created by Emily Bell and Taylor Owen, the helpful feedback from other Tow Fellows, and the copyediting of Abigail Ronck. Any mistakes left are on me.
–Nick Diakopoulos, December, 2013.