George Polk Award-winning investigative reporter A.C. Thompson has left the San Francisco Bay Guardian to join the staff of SF Weekly. Thompson started this week at the Weekly, where he’ll work alongside fellow investigative veterans Matt Smith, Ron Russell and Martin Kuz.
“My intention is to keep doing serious muckraking, breaking big-ass stories and spinning intriguing yarns,” said Thompson, who won the 2005 Polk for a six-part series that explored life, death and raw sewage in San Francisco’s decrepit public-housing projects. “Not to be obnoxious, but I truly want to beat everyone else–dailies, weeklies, TV, weirdo bloggers–to the important stories.”
The 34-year-old Thompson joined the Guardian in 1998 and during his tenure there was a two-time winner of the Western Publication Association’s Maggie Award and a two-time winner of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency’s PASS Award for crime reporting. He is also a finalist in this year’s Association of Alternative Newsweeklies Awards in the investigative reporting category.
SF Weekly editor Tom Walsh said he expects Thompson to bolster the paper’s long tradition of hard-hitting local coverage. “We see a lot of value in what he’ll bring to this newspaper, and that’s his news judgment and the vast source network he’s established in the city,” said Walsh, adding that, given Thompson’s eight-year tenure at the Guardian, “we were surprised and happy that someone of his caliber was looking for a staff writer job in San Francisco.”
Thompson said the Weekly’s track record of no-holds-barred coverage that leaves no room for pet agendas or sacred cows was a key drawing card: “Over the past decade, the paper has done some really jaw-dropping work, notably Lisa Davis’s reportage on the Navy’s contaminated shipyard facilities at Hunters Point and Peter Byrne’s stories on the Muni bus system, and I wanted to be part of that tradition.”
Prior to going into journalism, Thompson held an array of jobs, including pharmaceutical study test subject, trash collector, bike messenger, and punk band roadie. He has continued his hobby as a martial arts fighter since picking up his pen, and also just returned from Afghanistan, where he was reporting for a forthcoming book on extraordinary rendition, being written with Trevor Paglen, a Ph.D researcher at UC Berkeley.
Contact: Tom Walsh at 415-536-8136