Mike Mather is an investigative reporter. He has reported nationally and internationally for NewsChannel 3, The Daily Press, CBS News, and The New York Times. His professional reporting career began in 1989 in his hometown of Virginia Beach for The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. There here he earned the paper’s top honor for writing, and dozens of top awards from the Virginia Press Association. As a print reporter, he became the nation’s only working journalist to go behind-the-scenes to document a mass murder investigated by the Virginia Beach Police Department. The story was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Later, for a series of stories, he graduated from the police department’s basic academy and SWAT academy.
In 1998, Mike accepted an investigative-reporting position at NewsChannel 3. Last year his work earned both first-place and second-place honors investigative reporting, from the Associated Press. His career highlights include:
- Locating a wanted double murderer in Russia, interviewing him there, and convincing him to return home for trial. The story became the basis for two cable-television documentaries. In telling the story, Mike and his photographer were arrested by Russian agents.
- Exposing a flaw in Virginia’s DNA testing process that freed a dangerous criminal who then committed murder.
- Gaining a pardon for a Virginia man wrongfully convicted or rape.
- Discovering an embarrassing and damaging leak of FBI evidence in the decades-old unsolved Colonial Parkway Murders. Because of Mike’s investigation, the FBI reopened the case and promised to use the newest technology to try to solve the serial killings.
- Revealing how weak state enforcement allowed an unscrupulous Norfolk auctioneer to repeatedly pocket money meant for his clients. Because of Mikes’ investigation, the state put the auctioneer’s license on probation and convicted him of felony embezzlement.
- Uncovering fatal mistakes in Virginia Beach’s foster-care system that led to the death of a child. The state launched an investigation because of Mike’s stories.
Mike and his wife Elizabeth have four boys, including triplets. One of Mike’s triplets, Owen, has Cerebral Palsy. Mike helped found a charity running team in Virginia Beach dedicated to including children with disabilities in athletic events. He and his son Owen have completed dozens of long-distance races together, including numerous half marathons. Mike is also a volunteer instructor for Wintergreen Adaptive Sports, where he helps teach people with disabilities, including his son, to ski or snowboard. Mike was born and raised in Virginia Beach, learning journalism at Bayside High School and Radford University. He lives in the Ghent section of Norfolk. He enjoys running, photography, snowboarding and volleyball. He and several NewsChannel 3 colleagues sometimes pool their musical talents to play in a band. Mike plays guitar.