I'm a general assignment reporter at NPR in Washington. I focus on breaking news and criminal justice.

For more than four years, I was a reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia covering law enforcement, courts and usually the big story of the day.

Part of my legal reporting included covering Bill Cosby in court, dozens of hearings held in suburban Philadelphia over nearly three years and the comedian’s two criminal trials, the latter of which resulted in Cosby’s conviction and sentence to state prison.

I've also been a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross after breaking a major story about the nation’s first supervised injection site plan in Philadelphia. As part of that coverage, I had an exclusive one-on-one interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

I moved to Philly from Tennessee, where I was a reporter for Nashville Public Radio. 

At other points in life, I've been a staff reporter at The Oregonian and The Tennessean. And my work has appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times

While in Nashville, I worked on a months-long investigation for BuzzFeed into a rape scandal that rocked Vanderbilt University. The reporting implicated the football team’s head coach, who resigned shortly after the story was published. In later court testimony, the coach admitted he told players he had viewed graphic footage of the incident, something that first came to light through my reporting.

My thumbnail bio: The only child of a machinist and a church organist, I was raised a working-class kid under the milky sun of Northeastern Pennsylvania, about an hour north of Updike's hometown. 

I studied philosophy and journalism at American University in Washington, where I started AWOL, a monthly news magazine. On top of that, I did a bunch of internships at magazines and newspapers before landing my first full-time gig at The Tennessean. I covered state and federal courts. I left somewhat unceremoniously

Then I fell into radio. 

I like stories about the people behind crime and courts, disputes that explain communities and stories that illuminate the motivations of power brokers, especially through public records and other documents. 

I’m as fluent with Nexis and Pacer as I am with Twitter and Facebook.

You can reach me at ballyn@npr.org