On May 18, The Washington Post published a breaking news story about the Biden administration’s newly created and promptly attacked Disinformation Governance Board. The board was to be led by researcher and author Nina Jankowicz, who, The Post reported, “has been subject to an unrelenting barrage of harassment and abuse while unchecked misrepresentations of her work continue to go viral.” The Post revealed that Jankowicz was resigning from her barely three-week-old post, and the board, which had been charged with “countering misinformation related to homeland security,” was being disbanded.
On its own, the story would have made waves on both sides of the aisle in Washington. But its near-instant virality was predestined because of the journalist who reported it: The Post’s new tech columnist, Taylor Lorenz. No stranger to digital harassment, doxxing or the dangers of online celebrity, Lorenz took what could have been a basic Beltway bulletin and made it a thing.
Before the end of the day, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was in the briefing room, discussing the news Lorenz had just broken. Republican leaders, too, began issuing their own statements, mostly crowing about the board’s demise. Jankowicz herself appeared on CBS News the next day, talking about her resignation.
The scoop was, for a news cycle at least, the talk of the town—just the latest in a series of stories that has made Lorenz the most scrutinized, recognized and controversial journalist on the tech beat. “She just keeps putting out bangers,” said NBC News reporter Ben Collins, her former editor at The Daily Beast. “She is all rippers and no skippers.”