Kirsten Berg

Research Reporter

Photo of Kirsten Berg

Kirsten Berg is a research reporter with ProPublica. Previously, she served as an associate editor with Future Tense, a partnership between Slate magazine, New America, and Arizona State University, and as the deputy director of the New America Fellows Program. Kirsten has also worked for the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Frontline, and was once an intern at ProPublica.

You can email her securely at [email protected].

A Marijuana Boom Led Her to Oklahoma. Then Anti-Drug Agents Seized Her Money and Raided Her Home.

A year after authorities arrested Qiu He, the Chinese immigrant has yet to be charged with a crime. She and others say anti-Asian bias plays a role in the state’s crackdown on the pot industry: “I don’t feel secure here.”

A Diplomat’s Visits to Oklahoma Highlight Contacts Between Chinese Officials and Community Leaders Accused of Crimes

After a mass murder at a marijuana farm, a Chinese diplomat visited an organization that has been the subject of investigations. The meetings reflect an international pattern of contacts between Chinese officials and suspected criminal networks.



Gangsters, Money and Murder: How Chinese Organized Crime Is Dominating America’s Illegal Marijuana Market

A quadruple murder in Oklahoma shows how the Chinese underworld has come to dominate the booming illicit trade, fortifying its rise as a global powerhouse with alleged ties to China’s authoritarian regime.

We’re Investigating Mental Health Care Access. Share Your Insights.

ProPublica’s reporters want to talk to mental health providers, health insurance insiders and patients as we examine the U.S. mental health care system. If that’s you, reach out.

Skipping School: America’s Hidden Education Crisis

Absenteeism has nearly doubled since the pandemic. With state and federal governments largely abdicating any role in getting kids back into classrooms, some schools have turned to private companies for a reimagined version of the truant officer.

The Judiciary Has Policed Itself for Decades. It Doesn’t Work.

The secretive Judicial Conference is tasked with self-governance. The group, led by the Supreme Court’s chief justice, has spent decades preserving perks, defending judges and thwarting outside oversight.

United Nations Seems to Boost Plastics Industry Interests, Critics Say

Ahead of a groundbreaking treaty to reduce plastic pollution, a group of independent scientists fear that the United Nations is legitimizing industry-backed proposals such as chemical recycling.

The Inside Story of How the Navy Spent Billions on the “Little Crappy Ship”

Littoral combat ships were supposed to launch the Navy into the future. Instead they broke down across the globe and many of their weapons never worked. Now the Navy is getting rid of them. One is less than five years old.

How Often Do Health Insurers Say No to Patients? No One Knows.

Insurers’ denial rates — a critical measure of how reliably they pay for customers’ care — remain mostly secret to the public. Federal and state regulators have done little to change that.

Inside the Secretive World of Penile Enlargement

How a doctor’s two-decade quest to grow the penis is leaving some men desperate and disfigured.

How South Carolina Ended Up With an All-Male Supreme Court

An abortion ban struck down. The lone female justice retiring. And a majority-male legislature rallying behind the one male candidate to replace her. This is how South Carolina ended up with an all-male Supreme Court as new abortion legislation looms.

The Company Testing Air in East Palestine Homes Was Hired by Norfolk Southern. Experts Say That Testing Isn’t Enough.

“It’s almost like if you want to find nothing, you run in and run out,” says one expert.

Muzzled by DeSantis, Critical Race Theory Professors Cancel Courses or Modify Their Teaching

As fewer faculty members are protected by tenure, they’re finding it harder to resist laws that ban certain racial topics. Their students suffer the consequences.

They Called 911 for Help. Police and Prosecutors Used a New Junk Science to Decide They Were Liars.

Tracing the fallacy of 911 call analysis through the justice system, from Quantico to the courtroom.

The Globetrotting Con Man and Suspected Spy Who Met With President Trump

Tao Liu’s criminal odyssey took him from money laundering in Mexico to a massive scam in China to Trump’s exclusive New Jersey golf club. Investigators believed he may have infiltrated U.S. politics as part of a Chinese intelligence operation.

How a Chinese American Gangster Transformed Money Laundering for Drug Cartels

Xizhi Li pioneered a new method that enriched Latin American drug lords and China’s elite. A DEA investigation found the Chinese government may have been involved.

The Other Cancel Culture: How a Public University Is Bowing to a Conservative Crusade

With a rising national profile and donor base and relatively little state funding, Boise State University should be able to resist pressure by the Idaho Legislature. Instead the university, led by a liberal transplant, has repeatedly capitulated.

Building the “Big Lie”: Inside the Creation of Trump’s Stolen Election Myth

Internal emails and interviews with key participants reveal for the first time the extent to which leading advocates of the rigged election theory touted evidence they knew to be disproven, disputed or dismissed as dubious.

Even on U.S. Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out

Students and scholars from China who criticize the regime in Beijing can face quick retaliation from fellow students and Chinese officials who harass their families back home. U.S. universities rarely intervene.

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