The Washington Post's David Fahrenthold made a name for himself as one of the greatest sleuths of the 2016 presidential election, armed with his iconic white notepad. It was Fahrenthold who broke the story that Donald Trump held onto money he had raised for veterans charities and, later, it was Fahrenthold who published the Access Hollywood tape in which Trump lewdly brags about groping women.
But Fahrenthold didn't do it alone, he recounts in his behind-the-scenes look at how he broke some of the election season's biggest bombshells. Fahrenthold harnessed what he calls "a virtual army" on Twitter. In one case, he was able to learn that Trump's charitable foundation had used donor funds to purchase not one but two expensive portraits of the real estate mogul, in part thanks to a Twitter user who had seen the second painting:
I needed to find that portrait. I turned to my Twitter followers, putting out a photo of the new $10,000 portrait.
That was at 10:34 a.m.
By early evening I knew where it was.
"The Havi Painting was at Doral National in Miami, you can see two separate pics that tourists have taken of it," wrote Allison Aguilar.
I've never met Aguilar. I learned later that she is a former HR manager who is now a stay-at-home mother in Atlanta, writing short stories on the side. Days before, looking for the $20,000 portrait, she had scoured the website for Trump's golf resort at Doral, in Florida, scanning more than 500 user-generated photos of the resort’s rooms, restaurants and golf course.
About halfway through, she had spotted another portrait in a photo, hanging on a wall at the resort.
Then she saw my tweet, saying that I was now looking for that portrait, too. [The Washington Post]
Read more about Fahrenthold's "army" at The Washington Post.