He’s been listed among America’s best young journalists as a Livingston Awards finalist three out of the last four years, and in 2014, he was named the top reporter under 30 in Virginia. That same year, following his first year covering military affairs for The Virginian-Pilot, the Military Reporters & Editors Association singled Mike’s work out as the best domestic national security coverage in the country.
His investigative work following a deadly Navy helicopter crash in 2014 — including a long-form narrative and TV segment that appeared on NBC News — led to the grounding of more than 150 helicopters and changes to improve safety. The nationally broadcast “Nightly News” report was recognized as the best investigative TV report in the country by the Society of Professional Journalists.
Mike graduated from the University of Akron and was an editor at The Buchtelite student newspaper before heading south in 2007. He worked for three years at small daily newspapers in North Carolina, chasing stories about Burmese refugees in America’s most violent rural county, a string of trailer park arsons, and a serial killer who was targeting poor black women.
In September 2016, he began a new job covering health care and medicine for the Houston Chronicle. His work has been co-published with NBC, ProPublica and The Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley, where he completed a yearlong reporting fellowship.
While grinding out stories on hard news beats, Mike has won numerous feature- and narrative-writing awards, including honors from The Society for Features Journalism. He was a regular contributor to Distinction Magazine and has written for Boston Magazine.
Mike is married to his biggest supporter and best friend; he spends much of his free time learning dinosaur facts from his 5-year-old son, begging his 3-year-old daughter to put her clothes back on, and coaxing his baby boy back to sleep while bouncing him on a Pilates ball.
“(Mike Hixenbaugh’s) work does several remarkable things: It strives to draw meaning from events, and it does this subtly. It embraces that which flummoxes many reporters: shades of gray. It uses telling detail to underscore theme. It lets mystery drive readers through a story, holding back the answer to a question he just knows is in their mind.” – Jan Winburn, CNN enterprise editor
“Mike Hixenbaugh’s writing is alive — all action verbs and fresh metaphors. He treats his stories like action movies: He blows up something in the lead then builds the suspense throughout the narrative, pulling you along to the very end.” – Carlos Frias, Palm Beach Post
“Mike Hixenbaugh is a beat reporter with the soul of a feature writer.” – Kate Wiltrout, The Virginian-Pilot