I’m a reporter and multimedia journalist with experience writing for newspapers and magazines and producing audio and video for the web. My areas of interest include: public records, open data, criminal justice, the environment, politics, public policy and weird animal stories.
By day, I work out of NJ Advance Media’s statehouse bureau in Trenton, where I cover criminal justice, New Jersey state government and politics for NJ.com and The Star-Ledger and file far too many public records requests. Before that, I wrote features and worked on projects for our enterprise desk and led a team of reporters covering Bergen County. Previously, I was a producer for MassLive.com in Springfield, MA.
I’m a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society of Professional Journalists and my work has been recognized by my regional SPJ chapter and the New Jersey Press Association in areas including digital storytelling, environmental and investigative reporting and magazine writing. I’ve also been a fellow at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
I grew up in North Jersey, studied journalism and anthropology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and now live along the cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades with my wife, Rosie, who works in documentary film and television.
I use my initials in my byline because the world is lousy with Sean Sullivans. If you are a fellow Sean Sullivan, please write to me about your weirdest encounter with another Sean Sullivan in the wild. Here’s mine: One time I was getting a lift ticket at a popular ski resort and the guy right in front of me in line was named Sean Sullivan.
Some selected work:
An investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse at New Jersey’s only women’s prison that identified more than a dozen inmates who claimed they were targeted by a corrections officer. He wasn’t the only one.
I stumbled across a derelict ferryboat along the Hudson River and set out on a two-year journey (OK, mostly waiting for the FBI to respond to my FOIA request) to find out what brought it there. This feature for Inside Jersey magazine tells the story of the decline and fall of a New Jersey landmark.
This two-part series chronicles the work of the Last Resort Exoneration Project, which is trying to free two men serving life sentences for a double murder they claim they did not commit. I spent a few months combing through thousands of trial records, attending incremental court proceedings and hunting down key players in a 20-year-old cold case.
Wherein two skeptics head into the New Jersey Pine Barrens in search of the Jersey Devil. This is a feature profile of a man related to the monster seeking to set the record straight on New Jersey’s beloved cryptid.