Sean McGoey

Award-winning data and investigative reporter

About me

I'm a journalist based in Richmond, Virginia, currently working as a data reporter at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Before that, I was part of the reporting team behind the Pandora Papers, an investigation into global financial corruption led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

I have a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism and a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Virginia.

When I'm not reporting, I host a podcast called It's Pretty OK, play the guitar and sing, and enjoy reading and listening to my record collection.

Selected Writing

U.S. probe into racial bias in Henrico Schools prompts overhaul of gifted program

Richmond Times-Dispatch || February 20, 2023

For years, Black students like Matthew Docteur have been systemically underrepresented in Henrico County’s gifted program. Countywide, Black students made up 36% of the public schools population in the 2020-21 academic year, but only 14% of the gifted program.

The Office for Civil Rights, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, investigated whether Henrico County Public Schools discriminated against African American students by failing to provide them with comparable resources and educational opportunities that are provided to white students to prepare them for postsecondary education or careers.

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Richmond's Jewish community remembers Kristallnacht

Richmond Times-Dispatch || November 6, 2022

On the night of Nov. 9, 1938, Nazi paramilitary forces and German civilians engaged in a wave of violence and vandalism targeting Jewish homes, businesses and synagogues across Germany and Austria. The campaign of violence became known as Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” because of the shattered glass strewn in the streets.

On Sunday afternoon, Holocaust survivors and their family members gathered at the Emek Sholom Holocaust Memorial Cemetery in Henrico County, the oldest Holocaust memorial in the country, for an annual Kristallnacht memorial service.

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23 Va. school districts have taken books off shelves in past two years

Richmond Times-Dispatch || May 7, 2022

To understand the landscape of challenges to books in Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch sent public records requests to each of the state’s 132 public school systems seeking information on books that had been removed or placed under review in the past two school years.

Twenty-three school districts confirmed that they had taken at least one book out of circulation for content reasons, while 90 said no books had been brought up for review.

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First-time homebuyers feel squeezed out as Richmond housing market stays hot

Richmond Times-Dispatch || April 30, 2022

An analysis of home sales data by the Richmond Times-Dispatch found that since 2017, average sale prices across the city of Richmond and Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico counties have shot up by more than $120,000, despite median household income increasing by less than $10,000 in that time period.

Furthermore, the traditional “starter home” price point is rapidly vanishing from the market. In 2017, over 30% of home sales in the area closed for $200,000 or less. Now, less than one of 10 houses sells below that threshold, while twice as many homes sell for over $500,000.

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Richmond is Virginia's overdose capital. Nine of 10 fatal overdoses in the city involve fentanyl.

Richmond Times-Dispatch || January 26, 2022

More than 2,000 Virginians died of drug overdoses through the first nine months of 2021, a 17% increase over the same time frame in 2020. Virginia is on pace to record nearly 2,700 overdose deaths in 2021, a figure nearly four times higher than when the state began tracking overdoses in 2007 in response to the painkiller epidemic.

The spike in overdose deaths — 2021 is poised to be the eighth year in the past nine that Virginia saw record highs — has been driven almost entirely by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl deaths have increased every year since 2012, while deaths not related to the opioid have declined in each of the past five years.

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5 ways celebrities use offshore

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists || October 4, 2021

Shakira did it. So did Ringo Starr, Claudia Schiffer, Julio Iglesias and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar. They have all set up companies “offshore,” in places like the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where tax rates are low or zero and where their businesses — and their identities — are hidden from the public.

And they’re among the celebrities, politicians and billionaires named in a trove of leaked files obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Those records are part of the Pandora Papers, an investigation of the offshore financial system that the rich and famous use to buy yachts and private jets, invest in real estate and protect their families’ wealth while avoiding scrutiny.

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Disconnected: Students struggle with e-learning obstacles, lawmakers earmark solutions

Capital News Service || November 20, 2020

In both Baltimore City and Allegany County, the number of households without a broadband connection hovers around 40%, but usually not for the same reasons.

Allegany County residents are hamstrung by topography that blocks cell signals, and a population density too low to justify the investment of broadband providers. In Baltimore, broadband infrastructure is plentiful. But urban connectivity often comes down to affordability, according to state officials and city stakeholders.

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Confusion over federal eviction moratorium led to selective enforcement

Capital News Service || September 2, 2020

A two-month investigation by the Howard Center for Investigative Journalism found that while the federal and state moratoriums dramatically decreased eviction filings in April and May, cracks in the federal law appeared immediately.

Confusion about the moratorium’s language, which played out in conflicting guidance from federal agencies and the courts, led to selective enforcement. Landlords were expected to determine for themselves if their property was covered by the CARES Act. Renters had virtually no legal help to fight back. And eviction filings in some cities dropped more steeply in white neighborhoods than minority neighborhoods during the federal moratorium.

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Graphics and Data Visualization

Audio + Video

MEET THE INVESTIGATORS: interviewing investigative journalists about their career journeys

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Vinyl is going to outsell CDs in 2020. How did we get here?

JOUR 668I (Designing Stories with Motion Graphics), University of Maryland


Media & Journalism Experience

Richmond Times-Dispatch

Data Reporter // January 2022 - present

Reporting on local and state stories, conducting data analysis, and producing infographics for Richmond's daily newspaper.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

Editorial Fellow // January 2021 - December 2021

Reporting and data analysis for the Pandora Papers investigation. Hosted and produced the "Meet the Investigators" podcast and wrote stories for the ICIJ website. Member of the Scripps Howard Foundation's inaugural Roy W. Howard Fellowship class.

Capital News Service

Data/Graphics Bureau // August 2020 - December 2020

Reporting on data-based stories and designing infographics for student-powered newsroom covering Maryland and D.C. news. Assisting with data/design strategy for reporting from Annapolis and Washington bureaus.

Howard Center for Investigative Journalism

Data Reporter and Graphics Designer // June 2020 - August 2020

Summer reporting project on nationwide eviction trends during COVID-19 pandemic. Built Python scrapers to retrieve court records from county websites, analyzed data in R to produce trend memos for reporting team and designed accompanying infographics. Laid out all stories from summer package.

It's Pretty OK

Co-host, Podcast Producer, Web Editor // February 2016 - present

Founded and co-host a podcast about millennial life, with over 300 episodes to date. Built a Squarespace website to house our podcast feed as well as articles on food, music and more. Responsible for editing all web content and mixing/editing podcast episodes in Adobe Audition.

WTJU-FM (Charlottesville, VA)

On-Air Host, "Straight from the Crate" // January 2017-July 2019

Volunteer host of biweekly late-night radio show on local free-form radio station. Selected music, digitized playlists, read on-air PSAs.

WWL-TV (New Orleans, LA)

Digital Producer, High School Sports // August 2014 - December 2014

Ran station's standalone high school sports website. Published over 200 web articles, recruited a user-generated content network from local high schools and assisted in the production of the station's weekly prep football show. Temporarily filled in on the station's web desk, writing local interest stories for the station's website and cutting video from the morning show.

Other Professional Experience

Merkle Inc.

Senior Specialist, Media Services // 2015 - 2019

Managed digital advertising campaigns for retail, financial, and education clients. Contributed to 2016-2019 Digital Bowl reports, analyzing digital efforts of Super Bowl advertisers. Covered industry developments for Merkle’s Digital Marketing Channels blog. Assisted in training of new employees.


Summer In-Residence Fellow and Editorial Consultant // June 2014 - April 2015

Interned in product development and design, with focus on products aimed at young consumers. Developed a mobile trivia game based on news and current events, and wrote six quizzes per day in a custom content management system. Ran Facebook and Twitter accounts for the project.


Society of Professional Journalists - Sigma Delta Chi Awards 2020

Nowhere to Go (Howard Center for Investigative Journalism) - Winner, Collaborative Journalism

Society of Professional Journalists DC Chapter - Dateline Awards 2021

Nowhere to Go (Howard Center for Investigative Journalism) - Winner, Online Non-Breaking News

Society of Professional Journalists - Region 2 Mark of Excellence Awards 2021

Disconnected: Students struggle with e-learning obstacles, lawmakers earmark solutions (Capital News Service) - Winner, Online News Reporting


University of Maryland: M.J., Multiplatform Journalism, December 2020

University of Virginia: B.A., Economics, minor in Computer Science, May 2014


Reporting: Communicating complex data subjects to non-technical audiences. Experience submitting and tracking multi-agency FOIA/public records requests. Data analysis: Excel, R, SQL. Basic experience with Python for web scraping. Data visualization: Adobe Illustrator, Carto, Datawrapper, Flourish, QGIS. Basic experience with D3. Web development: HTML, CSS. Audio: Adobe Audition, hosting and producing/editing podcasts.

You can also download a PDF version here.


In my free time, I'm also a tremendous music dork. I've played the guitar since I was in middle school and have been building up a record collection since college. I spent more than two years as a volunteer DJ at the Charlottesville community radio station WTJU.

Here, you'll find links to my archive of show playlists, as well as a personal "top 20" chart built from my own Spotify play data over more than four years of listening.

WTJU Playlist Archive on Spotify

Special themes noted where applicable