Connor Sheets

Investigative Reporter

Connor Sheets

Birmingham, Alabama, 2019 - Credit: Abbey Crain, AL.com

Connor Sheets is an investigative reporter for Alabama Media Group.

As a member of ProPublica's 2019 Local Reporting Network, he spent the entire year investigating Alabama sheriffs. Sheets revealed that sheriffs destroyed government property, personally pocketed public funds, and wasted taxpayer money after losing 2018 reelection bids. He also exposed that Alabama sheriffs avoid paying to provide medical care for inmates in their jails by employing tactics that result in deaths and needless suffering, violate the Constitution and Alabama law, drive people into debt and harm public safety.

Since Sheets moved to Alabama in 2015, his reporting has had a major impact, from spurring state officials to clear the way for thousands of low-income felons to restore their voting rights and exposing how the University of Alabama funnels large sums of "dark money" to political candidates to driving state lawmakers to pass a law barring sheriffs from pocketing state jail food funds and revealing severe prison understaffing that helped convince the state to boost staffing levels.

Sheets and his work have been honored by many top national journalism contests. In 2019 alone, he received a Sidney Award for his reporting on medical bond, and his solo reporting on Alabama's "Beach House Sheriff" won a first-place Sigma Delta Chi Award in the investigative journalism category and was a finalist for the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for Investigative Journalism, the Livingston Awards for Young Journalists, the James Aronson Awards for Social Justice Journalism, the Tom Renner Award, and the Michael Kelly Award.

His journalism has been published in many prominent outlets including ProPublica, The Guardian, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Salon, and Mother Jones.

Sheets has completed journalism fellowships with institutions including the University of Missouri's Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Loyola Law School, the Hillman Foundation, and Georgia State University's Institute for Justice Journalism.

Born on Long Island, he grew up in Frederick, Md., where he delivered newspapers as a teenager and landed his first reporting job after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2007.

Sheets has since worked as a reporter for publications based in New York and Alabama, and has reported from four continents.