The Washington Post's reporting on Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson started like most stories — with a tip from a source, said Lynh Bui, who reported the story on Hasson's arrest and the weapons investigators found in his home.
"Someone called and mentioned court records I should sift through," Bui said. "When I found Hasson’s case, the alleged details were stunning."
Bui said Hasson's initial arrest on gun and drug charges weren't remarkable, but the later court records included startling revelations. According to prosecutors, Hasson was stockpiling weapons and drugs in his Maryland home and studying terrorist manifestos in order to execute a widespread attack on politicians and media personalities.
"I quickly got to work writing up the documents in addition to calling defense attorneys, prosecutors and federal authorities," Bui said.
From AU to The Washington Post
Bui received her master's in journalism and public affairs from the American University School of Communication (AU SOC) in 2013, where she was the American University-Washington Post fellow. While working toward her master's, Bui also worked on the Post's Metro desk covering education, which allowed her to get both academic and newsroom experience while at AU.
After her fellowship, Bui was hired by the Post to cover public safety and criminal justice in Prince George's County, Md. She's covered the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore, accountability stories after 8-year-old Relisha Rudd went missing from a D.C. homeless shelter, and has recently been tracking the failures that lead led the critical shock of a 6-year-old girl at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
"I've worked with some of the best journalists in the country over the past six years," Bui said.
Bui has also been involved in the Post's coverage of Paul Manafort's sentencing. She said one of her favorite stories she's covered was about a fighter pilot whose F-16 caught fire over D.C.
"I was on the scene covering the breaking news when the jet crashed into a residential neighborhood in 2017," Bui said. "It was remarkable that the pilot crashed without hurting himself or anyone on the ground."
The AU Experience
Bui applied to AU because she wanted to expand her reporting toolbox, but it was the the SOC's partnership with The Washington Post that really drew Bui to AU.
"The Washington Post fellowship allowed me to get classroom help on new skills that I could then apply to real stories that wound up in my work for the Post," Bui said. "When I wasn't in the classroom, I was working with smart editors and reporters at the Post who helped me improve my journalism."
The journalism and public affairs program allowed Bui to do journalism in the heart of D.C. — covering protests on Capitol Hill, producing radio stories about the presidential election and filming a documentary about a special needs hockey team.
Bui said Lynne Perri, SOC journalist-in-residence and managing editor for the Investigative Reporting Workshop, and Angie Chuang, former SOC associate professor of journalism, always offered sound guidance borne from their professional and academic experiences. She also has a collection of sayings from Journalism Professor and IRW Executive Editor Chuck Lewis pinned on her desk.
"Among my favorites: 'Investigative journalism is simple – listen to what they say and then watch what they do,'" Bui said.