When I started building a writing and editing business 10 years ago, I had three goals: produce work that helps clients change the way people think, make my clients’ lives easier (by nailing their tone on the first try, for example), and meet every deadline at word count. Today those are still my starting points for every project.

Vivid reporting transports readers. But that means doing extra legwork: making followup calls to finally reach the mother of a murdered child (see Life on the List), spending a week getting to know a source so that they’ll open up about a complicated past (see Immigrants’ Dilemma), or tracking down an ex-offender who can talk about what it’s like to look for a job when you have a criminal record (see The Job Trap for Ex-Prisoners: ‘The Box’).

Why the reporting beats described on this site?

I go after stories on youth policy because teen issues mostly get lost amid the flood of stories about children and adults. Ten years of writing about and talking to young people and staff in youth programs (while managing editor and senior writer at The National Clearinghouse on Families & Youth) made me interested in what helps teens become confident, self-reliant adults.

I pursue criminal justice articles because keeping kids and adults out of trouble, and therefore away from juvenile jails and prisons, will go a long way to fixing our budgets and neighborhoods. When people do violate our laws and land behind bars, if we’re going to release them we should learn from programs that are reinvolving them in society in a positive way.

Immigration matters because it might be the system most urgently in need of repair. I also spent three years in Central America working with refugees, am still fluent in Spanish, and have contacts in immigrant communities.

I’m always interested in real estate stories because I’m an investor. And especially since the 2008 crash, many property issues involve vital questions of justice (see Bank-Owned Houses: Curb Appeal Goes Out the Window).

Great publications make a difference for an organization’s mission and bottom line, and there’s nothing more satisfying than writing a report that grabs a media mention or a proposal that wins funding or a contract.

And my editing projects help ensure that reports, white papers, and marketing materials get the attention they deserve from policymakers and the public.

I’m always eager to tackle new story ideas and projects, including those outside my usual beats. If you have one, contact me at steven@stevenyoder.net.