For the 50th episode of our Nooze Hounds podcast, we spoke with Nick Ochsner, chief investigative reporter with WBTV; and Michael Graff, reporter and editor at Axios Charlotte. While they both do great work in their respective positions, we mostly spoke about their latest collaboration, a book they co-authored titled The Vote Collectors.
Subtitled The True Story of the Scamsters, Politicians, and Preachers Behind the Nation’s Greatest Electoral Fraud, The Vote Collectors tells the story behind the story that was the 2018 race for the Congressional seat in North Carolina’s ninth district. The book drops Nov. 16 and is currently available for preorder. On the podcast, Ochsner and Graff discuss how the project came to be following a rough day in which Ochsner was facing criticism for his exclusive reporting on the story.
They discuss how the different dynamics of their relationship — right-leaning TV investigative reporter and left-leaning writer and storyteller — played into the process of working on the book. The two also explain how they came to believe through their own reporting and research that McRae Dowless was perhaps undeservedly made the face of a fraud conspiracy that ran much deeper than him.
Going beyond The Vote Collectors, the trio also discusses allegations of sexual assault and cover-up at Myers Park High School, a story that Ochsner has been reporting on for years but has blown open over the past year. We discuss the recent reassignment of the school’s principal, the failure of CMPD to properly investigate these assaults, and how Ochsner’s reporting has already created change around the school district. In July, we had Ochsner’s colleague David Hodges on to talk about that story and some others the two have worked on together.
And of course, we talked about the water main break, because how could we ignore a story that involves local governmental incompetency and a Remount Road geyser.
Remember you can catch us on Spotify and other places where you find podcasts, and be sure to check out Queen City Podcast Network for a slew of other great Charlotte podcasts that aren’t quite as good as ours but pretty damn close. Find past Nooze Hounds episodes here.