The Trace is eager to announce the newest member of its reporting team: Will Van Sant starts this week as a reporter covering the gun lobby.

“I’m thrilled to be joining The Trace, which is home to so many talented journalists and has done such outstanding and necessary work,” says Will. 

Will comes to The Trace from Newsday, where he spent several years on the investigative team. During his time there, he focused on Long Island government and New York State agencies, uncovering buried secrets and generating impact. He was on a team named a finalist for the Pulitzer for Public Service in 2014 and in 2015 he received a “Salute to Excellence” Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for a project that unearthed law enforcement’s failure to protect a victim of domestic violence. 

We’re also thrilled to announce that Alain Stephens is joining the full-time staff as a reporter. A military veteran and gun owner, Alain brings personal and professional experience with firearms to the newsroom. Before joining The Trace, Alain did tours at inewssource and the Texas Standard, where his investigations led to important public safety, civil rights, and criminal justice reforms. 

“I’ve been sleuthing around the world of guns for some time,” says Alain. “I’m excited to join The Trace where I can home in on some of the more tough-to-crack areas surrounding guns in America; the industry, the money surrounding it, and the criminal underworld of arms traffickers.”

“We’re so fortunate to have Will and Alain rounding out our team of reporters,” says deputy editor Tali Woodward. “I’m eager to see Will train his formidable investigative skill on the forces that influence the national debate over guns. And Alain will no doubt help us understand the many contours of arms trafficking, firearms technology, and the gun industry.” 

About the Trace
The Trace is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism organization, and the only media outlet dedicated to full-time and in-depth reporting on America’s gun violence crisis. Since our launch in June 2015, we have partnered with more than 110 national and local media organizations, including The New Yorker, BuzzFeed News, the Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Chicago Sun-Times, and Teen Vogue. Our stories increase the public’s knowledge and understanding of the issue and spur action by policymakers, researchers, and law enforcement.