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Why Are Millions Paying Online Tax Preparation Fees When They Don’t Need To?

Tik Root | ProPublica | Image: Tomasz Walenta

Few taxpayers use the Free File system — intended to help moderate- and low-income filers — and that benefits companies like Intuit and H&R Block. Now Congress is moving to make the program permanent.



How Belize Is Restoring Its Coral Reefs and Damaged Ocean

Tik Root | National Geographic | Photo: Brian J. Skerry/National Geographic Creative 

The Astrum helicopter company launches from a base less than five miles from where Belize City meets the Caribbean. In the backseat, to my left, is Belizean Senator Valerie Woods. Across from us are two representatives from international ocean protection organization Oceana, which organized the flight. The country’s minister of state, Carla Barnett, climbs into the front seat.

“I haven’t been in a helicopter for a long time,” she mutters, pulling on her headset. The doors shut, and we’re off.

As we rise above the trees, Belize City starts to spread out in front of us. But that’s not our destination. Side-skirting downtown, we head out over the water—where the true treasures lay.



Paint Fight

Tik Root | Mother Jones | Graphic: Selman Design

In 1998, Fidelma Fitzpatrick, a young associate at the Motley Rice law firm, was wrapping up her work on the groundbreaking $246 billion national tobacco settlement when a new case landed on her desk. The state of Rhode Island—which had a disproportionate number of children with elevated blood lead levels—wanted her firm’s help suing the paint industry.

So began a decadeslong legal battle to hold paint manufacturers accountable for cleaning up old houses still coated in toxins. Fitzpatrick played a key role in the Rhode Island case and now spearheads her firm’s involvement in similar litigation. And the argument she proposed using to take on the paint companies is being applied to a widening array of state and local public health lawsuits—especially important given the Trump administration’s apparent reluctance to regulate industries.



2018 PyeongChang Olympic Coverage

Fireworks explode during the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Christian Hartmann/REUTERS)

I covered the PyeongChang Olympics primarily for The Washington Post. I spearheaded The Post's daily Olympics newsletter, as well as wrote features, sport guides and interviews both during and prior to the Games.

A few of my favorite pieces were about a the man who sharpens U.S. figure skates, the U.S. women's cross country team, comentators Tara Lipinsky & Johnny Weir, and the twentieth anniversial of a backflip

In total, I produced more than three dozen stories, which were shared tens of thousands of times. Below are links to that work. 

Click to read more ...


A Descendant of Robert E. Lee Speaks Out 

Tik Root | The New Yorker | Video: Paul Rosenfeld, Tik Root, Charlie Weber

Rob Lee had a very busy 2017. His first book, “Stained-Glass Millennials,” about young people and the church, came out in January. In May, he graduated from Duke Divinity School. Later that month, he got married. Then, in August, the Unite the Right Rally descended on Charlottesville, Virginia.