Welcome to "Vicky Ward Investigates"
For anyone and everyone who wants to be in the know about politics, true crime, culture, and corruption
I love long-form journalism, and I will forever be attracted to stories I can really dig into—the kinds of stories that take months of reporting, hundreds of hours spent talking to sources; the kind of stories that educate me—and hopefully my readers—about worlds and cultures that were previously unfamiliar. I believe that approaching people and cultures with a fresh eye helps to keep the reporting unbiased. I’ve written for the New York Times, Esquire, Vanity Fair, and many more. I’ve written three books—The Devil’s Casino (about the collapse of Lehman Brothers), The Liar’s Ball (about the ruthless world of New York real estate) and, most recently, Kushner, Inc., for which I interviewed over 200 people. I also recently became a podcaster with Audible’s “Chasing Ghislaine” (which is now a documentary streaming on discovery+ and available on Discovery ID on December 3), in which I chronicled my 19-year quest to uncover what—or who—is behind Jeffrey Epstein’s wealth, influence, and criminality and what Ghislaine Maxwell’s alleged role was in it.
Traditionally, my reporting has been done solo and it’s often been months, sometimes years, in the making. I’ll interview hundreds of sources (preferably in person, not by phone or Zoom because I believe those are barriers to a complete understanding of people) or I will spend months alone in my office, going through reams of court records or SEC filings. There are regularly jaw-dropping moments of discovery during the process that are too hefty to tweet without being able to give broader context. So, what if there were a happy medium between a 280-character missive and a book three years into the future?
I plan to keep doing long-form journalism for a long time to come, but I am thrilled to be announcing today the launch of an exciting new venture: my Substack entitled “Vicky Ward Investigates.”
I am so excited about the access, immediacy, and transparency that Substack affords writers. I can’t wait to take you along with me as I cover the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell in real time and look at the powerful network of men who kept Jeffrey Epstein’s secrets—a network that, according to my reporting, still endures two years after Epstein’s death. Let me take you inside the courtroom as I share what I know from the 19 years I’ve spent covering this story. Come with me as I travel to South Carolina to unfurl the winding story of the fallen dynasty of the Murdaughs. I can’t wait to let you look over my shoulder while I explain the seemingly inexplicable. Let me give you the real scoop behind the story, whether that’s understanding why a family of lawyers such as the Murdaugh family hold an extraordinary amount of power in South Carolina or what the hidden reasons could have been for Jeffrey Epstein’s hold over Ghislaine Maxwell. I also plan to share stories about the collateral fallout from her trial—news that may turn out to be of far greater significance than what goes on in that courtroom.
When you subscribe to “Vicky Ward Investigates,” you will be one step ahead of “hot off the presses”—you’ll be getting the inside scoop straight from the source before it even hits mainstream headlines. You will also get insight to my journalistic process and the difficulties behind breaking news as opposed to just following or explaining it.
Investigative journalism is notoriously expensive because it is difficult. Sources often don’t want to go on the record about very sensitive subjects which means a journalist must double- or triple-source information—and tracking people down can mean flying across the country for a single face-to-face coffee or spending a long night standing outside someone’s house. It’s grueling, exhausting, and costly. But we must go wherever the story is. I once drove seven hours to knock on a door of a woman who took two days to answer. I once flew to Denmark only to have a door slammed in my face. I was at a close friend’s black-tie wedding many years ago when I heard there was a party for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs; I ran, all dressed up, to that event several miles away in order to work a room full of strangers to get the story. And I did: At that party, I met the mole who got me inside Hewlett Packard, and I wrote a piece that was taught at Harvard Business School about the toxic battle that was fought between Walter Hewitt and Carly Fiorina for control of the company’s future.
Given the amount of effort I invest in my work, I will be offering both free and paid options for my Substack. Those who subscribe will be able to enter my mind and my world as I set about sleuthing and learn the details of a story. I will share new stories about boldface names you think you know and startling stories about people that perhaps you didn’t know but should. From New York real estate to Silicon Valley to the Beltway, I will endeavor to provide the inside information that gets you behind the headlines. I will pull back the curtain periodically to share the bizarre emails and phone calls I receive—yes, even my hate mail!—and the difficult, often complicated route between hearing startling information and then nailing it down to make it printable.
For those who opt for the full experience—$5 a month, $50 a year or $150 to be a founding member of “Vicky Ward Investigates”—I’ll be offering direct access to my reporting right from the ground, sharing raw video and audio clips or pieces of transcript in their freshest form. (I included previously off-the-record transcripts and exclusive conversations with Epstein himself in my podcast and documentary—and let me assure you that there is more of that.) Behind the paywall is where I’ll be breaking news. I also want to answer some of your burning questions and share my insider access that will help explain the inner-workings of the worlds of politics and money I know so well.
I’ve long been searching for an outlet with the editorial freedom Substack offers. Ultimately, I don’t want someone’s 40,000-foot view of what they think my reporting to shows; I don’t want anyone to twist what I see, and, all too often, that has happened. Editors who sit behind desks can be brilliant wordsmiths, but if you are not in the room, well, you are not in the room. I want you to be in the room with me—and those of you who pay for behind-the-scenes access will get to take that journey.
It’s a journey that will take us into the belly of corruption, yes, but I can’t wait to see where else it will take us. As I enter the next stage of my career, I want the freedom to follow the stories that most interest me. I meet so many different kinds of people that I encounter all sorts of fascinating stories, and Substack will enable me to follow all of them. For example: Why did a high-flying general counsel on the West Coast suddenly quit the start-up world? What’s the unreported reason behind of the “she-cession” of millions of women leaving the workforce during the pandemic? (Hint: it isn’t just economics, which is what you may have read.) I can’t wait to cover it all—and share it all with you.
I’ve been so grateful for the outpouring of support—for my book, for the podcast, my documentary, for my work in general—and I’m viewing this as an opportunity to give back to my dedicated readers who have been invested in my work for so many years. I am so excited about this next step in my journalism journey. I hope you will join me.
All three parts of my docu-series “Chasing Ghislaine” will air back-to-back on ID starting at 8/7c on Friday, December 3.