George J. Tanber is a reporter who specializes in investigations, human interest features, international affairs and social issues. Tanber is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. His 12-part series for ESPN.com’s Black History Month included an exclusive interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Also for ESPN.com, Tanber and colleague Mike Fish spent six months investigating a scandal involving University of Toledo athletes and Detroit mobsters. Tanber's ESPN.com Q&A and feature subjects have included author Carl Hiaasen, musician Wynton Marsalis, Martin Luther King III, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and golfers Lorena Ochoa and Chi Chi Rodriguez.
From 1996 to 2006 Tanber worked as a general assignment, special projects, and investigative reporter for The (Toledo) Blade. For The Blade, Tanber covered everything from Princess Diana’s funeral to Hurricane Katrina, to presidential and gubernatorial campaigns, to downtown and suburban development. His investigative series on Ohio inmate Kenny Richey of Scotland helped turn the Richey saga into one of the country’s most high-profile death row cases. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, and in January, 2008, Richey was released after spending 21 years on death row. Tanber’s and colleague Michael Sallah’s investigation of businessman and civic leader Edwin Bergsmark and city official James Thurston led to felony convictions for both men. For their effort, Tanber and Sallah became Pulitzer Prize nominees. Tanber’s work on Katrina also led to a Pulitzer nomination. Among his many other awards, Tanber won a first-place Associated Press citation for his seven-part series “Life Along the Mississippi.” During an earlier stint at The Blade, Tanber traveled to Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe covering the African Famine, for which he won a first-place AP award, was a finalist for the prestigious Livingston Award and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee.
Previously, from 1990 to 1996, Tanber traveled to more than 100 countries for his weekly column “Crossroads,” a collaborative effort with Universal Press Syndicate and the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Overland trips by car across North Africa, from Alabama to Panama, and from Paris to Damascus have been among Tanber’s numerous reporting adventures.
During his years as a freelance foreign correspondent, Tanber covered conflicts in Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Israel and Myanmar; the boom years in Japan; and the unique culture of Saudi Arabia. His articles and photographs have appeared in National Geographic publications, the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has lived in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Spain, and has served as a fellow at the International Center for Journalists and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies.
Tanber is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where he also has a master’s degree in communications.