Vanity Fair applauds alumna Emily Steel ’06 for groundbreaking investigative work

Alumna Emily Steel ’06 and her New York Times colleagues Michael Schmidt, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were recognized by columnist James Wolcott on Tuesday, Nov. 28, for “[following] the money trail in true Woodward-and-Bernstein fashion.” Wolcott's Vanity Fair feature spotlights the journalists' ongoing investigative reporting on systemic sexual misconduct issues.

Steel and Schmidt broke “Bill O’Reilly Settled New Harassment Claim, Then Fox Renewed His Contract” in late October 2017, following up on their early April 2017 story uncovering $13 million in FOX news payouts over the years to address complaints about O’Reilly’s behavior.

MJ-school Dean Susan King spoke with Steel for the school’s Start Here / Never Stop Podcast series. King notes the “good old-fashioned digging” that was required to break the original O’Reilly story, including meeting a source at a Pilates class on the West Coast, and making a plethora of phone calls.

Steel tells King about how, amidst daily distractions, she focuses on following the story. “There are all these new tools. There are all these new technologies,” Steel points out. “But nothing replaces talking to people on the phone, meeting them in person and really getting the feel of stories and the original reporting.”

She holds the ideals of journalism as her foundation. To Steel, if you shine light on darkness, hold people in positions of power accountable and follow the facts, the story will come.