Shoshana Walter is an award-winning journalist, currently writing investigative stories on criminal justice for The Center for Investigative Reporting in Emeryville, California.
For her latest investigation on sex abuse and trafficking in the marijuana industry, Shoshana slept on marijuana farms and off-roaded to guerrilla grows in the remote redwoods of Northern California. A bill prompted by her investigation is currently making its way through the California legislature. Last year, her investigation into the poor regulation and oversight of the armed security guard industry led to new laws, government investigations and garnered the national reporting prize in the 2015 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists.
She has been a featured speaker on a variety of topics, from our nation’s love affair with private security at the Newseum, to how to investigate guns at the Dart Center. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, NPR, Cosmopolitan, Business Insider and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. She was also a Dart Center Ochberg fellow at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a John Jay/Harry Frank Guggenheim fellow in criminal justice journalism.
She got her start in 2007 in the Poynter Institute’s summer fellowship program, and as a daily crime reporter at The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida.
Within her first year on the job, Shoshana turned a B1 story from her first crime scene into a three-part narrative series examining the demographic changes, systemic failures, and racial tensions leading up to a fatal after-school fight between two middle schoolers. The series and multimedia project took six months to report and produce and won the Florida Society of News Editors’ gold medal for public service, a New York Times Chairman’s Award and a prize from the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists. Later, her narrative series on child molestation garnered the Sigma Delta Chi award for non-deadline reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Best Story prize from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association.
In 2010, Shoshana moved to San Francisco to help launch The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit journalism organization that produced the Bay Area pages of The New York Times. As a crime reporter in San Francisco and Oakland, Shoshana wrote about the policing of people with mental illness, the politics behind the the theft of a city councilman’s Rihanna tickets, the culture of the beleaguered Oakland Police Department and the city’s entrenched street violence. She risked arrest and endured tear gas while covering Occupy Oakland, the arm of the Occupy activist movement that led to explosive conflicts between protesters and police. Her investigations into arrest reporting practices by the San Francisco Police Department led to calls for reform from city leaders and civil rights groups, a public hearing and policy changes requiring the department to report accurate arrest numbers.
Shoshana graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in American Studies and a concentration in ethnic and gender studies.
While at Mount Holyoke, she interned at the Daily Hampshire Gazette, founded a feminist magazine and studied abroad in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where she wrote about Dutch and immigrant women in hip hop. Some of her jobs during her college years included operating an emergency help line for low-income women in New York City, selling watches at the mall, and managing a community center for LGBT students. She left Mount Holyoke with a writing award and the Susan Jones Prize for commitment to social justice.