I didn't want to start a newsletter but Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter didn't give me much of a choice. People I care about are dropping off that app. It's too late for me to start a Facebook page and that place is also dead. I'm not learning how to TikTok.
Despite the way reactionaries depict SPLC (where I have worked as an investigative reporter since December 2018), we are a small shop. Some of my investigations generate follow up reporting in bigger outlets but some don't. Some of my favorite stories don't get mainstream pick up because they are too niche, or present challenges for other newsrooms to immediately confirm. (NYT confirmed the second linked story one year later.)
Not every investigation I work on includes Stephen Miller's previously private emails or Marjorie Taylor Greene making objectively bizarre "butt plug" comments at NYYRC. Even for those stories, I still had to use Twitter to fight for a bigger audience. If Twitter unravels, I need another space online for people who follow my work.
What am I going to do with a newsletter?
Let me think about it for a minute! I'll definitely promote my stories and add context to them. I'll also probably comment on other stories that relate to my beat.
I will definitely not force content out there for the sake of it. I'm not interested in wasting anyone's time. Or money. I'm not charging for a subscription to this newsletter or trying to make it my career.
The title of the newsletter refers to my habit of finishing long projects overnight, usually at around seven or eight in the morning. It's something I do less as I get older. I guess the title could also refer to the subject matter I cover, and the difficult process of pushing fascism into the proverbial shadows. We don't need to get too deep, honestly.
As for the image, I asked my sister to bang out something quickly on my favorite album cover, Ministry's With Sympathy. Yeah, it's goth. That's the vibe I think you need to harness when covering people who seek to inflict pain on others.
Tomorrow, we are publishing Part One of an investigation into Alex Jones's private text messages. You may have heard about these messages back in August 2022. I think this is the first story I've ever worked on where the editor slapped a content warning on top of it. I'll send out a blast here when it goes live.