Investigative Reporting – Breaking a National Story from a Small Corner of Missouri

On July 26, 2003, the Springfield News-Leader and I published this exclusive breaking-news story (below) about the U.S. government’s investigation into the death of Missouri National Guardsman Joshua Neusche, who was stationed in the Middle East during the initial stages of the Iraq War.

I had covered Joshua’s memorial service and learned from his parents that their son had died from a mysterious illness that quickly took over his body and shut down his organs. Conspiracy theorists began calling me and swearing that the illness was due to depleted uranium. As a result, I began scouring reports of all dead and ill soldiers, ultimately compiling names of other soldiers who had experienced similar symptoms. Most lived, but one other, sadly, died in similar fashion to Joshua. From a journalistic standpoint, this story was unique in that I broke a national/international story from a small corner of the Midwest. This involved diving deep into spreadsheets and lists to compile the list and engage the government, which provided an exclusive interview announcing the investigation. This story had legs the moment it was published.