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About me

I’m a Washington-based reporter with more than a decade of experience digging into complex financial, regulatory, legal and public-policy issues and explaining them to general audiences, mostly while at major national news organizations. I now work for footnoted, the blog and subscription service founded and run by Michelle Leder and acquired by Morningstar Inc. in early February 2010. 

Before that, I was briefly a reporter for Bloomberg News in Washington, covering housing regulation and some financial-derivatives issues. I joined Bloomberg after working as a Washington correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine and BusinessWeek online until they were acquired by Bloomberg LP on December 1, 2009.

I joined BusinessWeek in August 2008, after eight years at The Wall Street Journal, where I covered a wide range of financial topics, including retirement, pensions, health-care, executive compensation, property-casualty and life insurance, stocks and mutual funds. Articles I wrote or co-wrote have won two Gerald Loeb awards, two George Polk awards, and one National Journalism award, among others, and I shared in the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. Some of my articles receiving national recognition include a series examining how employers benefit from life-insurance policies covering employees; others examined nursing-home evictions and how cutting retiree health-care helps corporate profits.

I've also worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, Arkansas, the Daily Record of Morris County, New Jersey, and the Petersburg Pilot in Petersburg, Alaska. In college, I wrote for the Daily Illini at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I have a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism

For more details, please see my resumé.

About my work

My primary interest lies in complex financial, legal and public-policy issues, with an emphasis on investigative and explanatory reporting. My goal is to reach a broad audience, at once relevant and accessible to a general readership and meaningful to readers who are more financially sophisticated.

On this page, to the right, is a feed of my most recent material, aka the TheoWire, both from this site and from outside publications; it should be reasonably up-to-date. Below that are my two Twitter feeds: @theofrancis, which I use primarily to publicize some ofmy own work and re-post or discuss related issues, and @theowire, which I've used primarily to point out work by others, on a wider range of topics, that I think is worth reading. On the left are twomlists of projects, mostly outlets for which i currently work, or once worked; following those links will bring you to pages with selected articles and blog posts, as well as a more general stream of items for current projects.

I periodically email out articles to sources, professional contacts and others; let me know if you’d like me to add you to the list, or sign up using the form on the Articles page.

I’ve found myself in some interesting places as a reporter. The Narratives page includes a few first-person stories about my experiences.

Although I am primarily a reporter and writer, I have also appeared on national and international broadcast television and radio news shows, and I’ve helped produce and appeared in online video segments. Links and additional information are on my Multimedia page.  

About this site

This is the fourth major version of my Web site. I first created TheoWire in the spring of 1996 by hand-coding the HTML in vi on borrowed a Unix machine. The first revision was again mostly hand-coded, using Optima System’s PageSpinner; it is still online for nostalgia’s sake. I built the next iteration in the summer of 2009 using Apple’s iWeb, with subsequent updates and minor adjustments since. This version is built with Drupal 7, which I've been teaching myself as I go.