Research & INvestigating


Research & Investigations by Hal Herring

I have spent some of my most rewarding days lost in research for long form journalism stories, traveling to strange places, reviewing obscure records, finding people who have the knowledge I need, reading deeply into histories that often reveal connections to the present, and to the story, that I could never have imagined.  

With almost twenty years’ experience in this kind of exploration, I’ve developed some skills, and access to sources, that I sometimes apply to goals other than journalism stories. 

I was once a juror on a long homicide trial that involved a conflict over access across private land to public land. None of the combatants in the case, including the accused killer and the victim, seemed to know clearly whether there was a legal right to access, although such information could have been obtained by an objective third party with some research skills and the time to apply them. Everybody was so caught up in their own story- their own motives, obsessed with their own outcomes, biased by their own experiences and angers- that nobody sought a real answer, and one life was lost, and another ruined. It did not have to end that way. 

I have been involved in conservation work as both a consultant and a contractor, and I have often wanted to do the objective research to quantify the success of such work, independently, ie. “Our group has contributed X amount of money to the conservation of the Preble’s Jumping Mouse. Are we accomplishing anything, or would our money be better spent elsewhere?” Certainly the success or failure of such an effort is at least partly quantifiable, by extensive and careful interviewing of biologists and landowners and experts who have no vested interests in the project.   

A scan of some of my larger projects will show that I am a dogged and committed researcher who will ruthlessly reject my own biases to understand and report whatever the actual truth may be. 

From legal issues and court cases, to conservation and other project evaluations, to simple due diligence, I am sometimes available to investigate subjects and cases that are within my relatively wide realm of expertise.  Please contact me to discuss, with my discretion as a given. 

If you are interested in of a specific paper or in contracting Hal for research, please contact him here:  Contact Page