About Us

The Assembly is a digital magazine about the people, institutions, and ideas that shape North Carolina. Founded in 2021, we feature interesting, deeply reported, nuanced stories about our state. 

We’re telling big stories and giving our journalists space to be ambitious. We want everything published at The Assembly to surprise, inform, and leave you with a better understanding than when you started.

February marks our two-year anniversary at The Assembly, and we’re so excited to celebrate it the best way possible: by hiring three amazing full-time reporters.

This is a big step forward for what is still a small, scrappy team. These new hires will bring our squad to nine full-time folks. It will also mark a shift in our model.

Up until now, all our reporters have been freelancers — up-and-coming stars and veteran reporters alike. We’ll continue publishing lots of stories from these excellent freelance writers across our state.

But the addition of full-time staff will make us more versatile and help produce even better reporting on this state for our readers.

2023 is going to be a big year of growth at The Assembly. Our goal since day one has been to build support — in both finances and enthusiasm — so that we can pay good journalists, good money, to spend time on big stories.

North Carolina needs more journalists, and we’re so excited to take another step towards that goal. Keep the support coming and we’ll get to do even more in the months to come.


Carli Brosseau joins us from The News & Observer, where she was an investigative reporter. Carli is a Kansas native who got her start in journalism in Cape Town, South Africa. She has worked a variety of beats at newspapers in South Korea, Minnesota, Arizona and Oregon.

Her work has been honored by the Online News Association and Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), and published by ProPublica and The New York Times. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Michael Hewlett, a native of Richmond, Virginia, comes to us from the Winston-Salem Journal where he was most recently the legal affairs reporter. He covered the claim of innocence by four men convicted as teenagers in the 2002 death of NBA star Chris Paul’s grandfather and the 2019 death of John Neville, an inmate at the Forsyth County Jail, for which five detention officers and a nurse were initially charged.

He and two colleagues won the Henry Lee Weathers Freedom of Information Award for their work seeking body-camera footage and other documentation in the case of a police officer who fatally shot a Winston-Salem man.

Ren Larson is an investigative journalist who joins us from The Texas Tribune and ProPublica’s investigative team. She previously worked as a data reporter with The Arizona Republic, and her work has been recognized by the Texas Managing Editors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, The McElheny Knight Science Journalism Award, Editors & Publishers, and was a finalist for the Gerald Loeb and Phil Meyer awards.

Ren holds a master’s of public policy and M.A. in international and area studies from the University of California, Berkeley. She speaks Spanish and is continuously learning Arabic.

Ren and Michael start February 1, and Carli joins in April.