Ronan Farrow is a star. His work in The New Yorker has been heralded as brilliant as he regularly delivers stunning scoops.
But it’s Jane Mayer behind the curtain, the decades-long eminent and esteemed investigative journalist, spilling ink on dark and dirty money, exposing corruption at the highest levels of government and laying bare the truths found in war and behind closed and locked doors.
Mayer has been an award-winning journalist and author for four decades.
Here’s what you need to know about Jane Mayer:
1. New Yorker Writer & New Yorker, Jane Mayer is the Journalist Everyone is Talking About
Mayer, 62, is a native New Yorker. Her mother a painter and printmaker, her father a composer, her grandfather was a historian and John D Rockefeller Jr. biographer, and her ancestor Emanuel Lehman was a founder of the Lehman Brothers.
She attended tony New York high schools, was an exchange boarding school student in England and then, graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 1977. While at Yale, she was editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine. Also while studying in New Haven, she began her professional career in journalism as a freelancer for Time magazine.
In 1992, Mayer married fellow journalist William B. Hamilton, then Washington Post national editor, now Washington editor for The New York Times. They have one child, daughter Kate.
Mayer is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.
2. Mayer’s Career in Journalism, Begun at Small Weekly Newspapers in Vermont, Includes 12 Years at The Wall Street Journal
And because good journalists pay their dues on the ground covering small communities, Mayer began as a beat reporter for small weeklies in Vermont, then moved on to the daily Rutland (VT) Herald before joining the staff of the now long-closed Washington Star as a metro beat reporter. In 1982, Mayer was hired by The Wall Street Journal. There she soared and was named the first female White House correspondent.
Mayer became a foreign war reporter and covered the 1983 bombing of US barracks in Beirut, and the fall of Communism and the Berlin Wall in 1989. She was nominated for two Pulitzer’s, and was a contributor for The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.
After nearly 12 years with the WSJ, Mayer joined the staff at The New Yorker in 1995 and has been there since as a politics, culture, and national security writer, according to her bio.
3. Mayer’s Major Stories Began in the ‘80s & Continue With Intrepid Investigative Journalism & Eye-Popping Scoops
Mayer, with Farrow, shook the earth with the May 2018 bombshell report on New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who was a leading voice “against sexual misconduct.” and then, “after suing Harvey Weinstein” faced his own “#MeToo reckoning” after being accused of sexual assault by four women. Jaws dropped. He resigned.
Mayer, with Farrow, again blew socks off with the story ‘A Sexual-Misconduct Allegation Against the Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Stirs Tension Among Democrats in Congress,’ that details a complaint against Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh forwarded to the F.B.I. for investigation alleging he sexually assaulted a girl while in high school three decades ago.
Mayer’s clip file includes coverage of terror attacks and falling empires, and investigations that follow the money. She’s reported on Sid Vicious and Janet Reno, whistleblowers and the ‘Wind on Capitol Hill,’ presidents and prime ministers, Osama Bin laden and Saddam Hussein; Mayer’s had it all covered.
She has spent her career in the stacks doing the homework, the background, the digging, the sourcing and then pulling together stories she weaves without seams it looks and reports accurately, clearly and solidly. Plus, she’s a gifted writer in addition to being a prize-winning reporter.
4. Book Author Mayer’s Works Have Been Bestsellers & Nominated for National Awards
At least two of Mayer’s books, both New York Times best sellers, were born out of stories she wrote for The New Yorker.
The 2016 tome “Dark Money,” which the Times named as one of the 10 best books of the year, was a deep dive into the Koch brothers’ influence on American politics.
She also wrote the 2008 Times best-seller “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,” which was based on her New Yorker articles and was named one of the top 10 works of journalism of the decade by N.Y.U.’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and one of the 10 best books of the year by the Times.
With legendary New York Times editor Jill Abramson, she co-authored “Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas,” (which was adopted as a TV movie), nominated for two national book awards, and, writing with Doyle McManus, the book “Landslide: The Unmaking of the President 1984-1988,” was about Pres. Ronald Reagan’s second term in office.
5. Mayer’s Career is Distinguished by Myriad Professional Awards & Accolades
Mayer’s list of professional journalism awards, accolades and fellowships is long.
In 2009, Mayer was chosen as Princeton University’s Ferris Professor of Journalism.
She’s been honored with the George Polk Prize, the John Chancellor Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Goldsmith Book Prize, the Edward Weintal Prize, the Ridenhour Prize, and two Helen Bernstein Book Awards for Excellence in Journalism.
She received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, the Sidney Hillman Prize, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the James Aronson Award for social justice journalism, the Toner Prize for political reporting, the I. F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence, and the Frances Perkins Prize for Courage.