On the Records is run by Christopher Peak, a Brooklyn-based journalist.
A Southern California native, Peak has worked in just about every type of media venture around, including an investigative nonprofit, a daily newspaper, a country weekly, and a digital media startup.
At his first reporting internship, for the San Francisco Public Press, Peak filed a lawsuit against the district attorney for withholding records about the handling of domestic violence cases. While the D.A. tried to take down a liberal rival for bruising his wife’s arm, his office, as a whole, failed to charge three-quarters of the cases police recommended for prosecution.
A year later, across the Golden Gate Bridge in coastal Marin County, Peak wrote accountability pieces for the Point Reyes Light, a Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly, about an opaque public school system, its demeaning high school counselor and a snoring school board translator. He once collected a year’s worth of property transaction records (read: copied them by hand in the county assessor’s office) to document an influx of tech money that was squeezing West Marin’s rural homeowners, and he investigated wrongdoing at the Bay Area’s last operating slaughterhouse, where employees had swapped the heads of cancer-ridden cows with those of healthy cattle to fool a team of overworked U.S.D.A. inspectors.
A millennial who reads his Sunday newspaper in print, Peak remembers a time — not long ago — when “Vice” meant bad behavior, and “Gawker,” the rubberneck who’d brought the 405 to a standstill. Despite digital media’s detractors, Peak is heartened at the persistence of investigative journalism online, even if it’s no longer ink-stained.