Beth Fertig

Senior Reporter, WNYC News

Beth Fertig is a senior reporter covering courts and legal affairs. She focuses on how different New Yorkers interact with the civil and criminal justice systems. Her work explores whether justice is meted out fairly and whether programs within the courts can reduce incarceration and solve social problems. She also covers the federal immigration courts and how changes in immigration law affect New Yorkers under President Donald Trump's administration.

Beth started working at WNYC in 1995 covering city politics and spent many years covering public education. She is the author of Why cant u teach me 2 read? Three Students and a Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test (FSG Books) which grew out of a radio series on the low graduation rate for special education students. She also worked on the award-winning WNYC series  “Being 12” and reported on efforts to promote integration in the New York City public schools. Follow her @bethfertig.

Beth is a New York City native who discovered her love for journalism at her college newspaper at the University of Michigan. She also has a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio. She’s won many local and national awards, including the prestigious Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for Broadcast Journalism for her series of reports in 2001 about an effort to privatize some struggling city schools.

Beth also won an Edward R. Murrow award for an investigation of a subway fire. And she’s won numerous awards from the city's Deadline Club, the Society of Professional Journalists, and the New York Press Club -- which gave her a special award after the 2001 terrorist attacks for a profile on the friendship of two WTC survivors.

Read Beth's latest reporting on Gothamist.

Beth Fertig appears in the following:

As Tens of Thousands of New Yorkers Struggle to Pay Rent, Eviction Filings Are Down Not Up, What Gives?

Monday, November 30, 2020

About 23,400 eviction cases were filed in New York City since June – less than half as many as during the same time last year, despite the pandemic's hardships. But more are coming.


New DACA Ruling Has Undocumented Immigrants Hopeful Biden Will Expand Program

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Undocumented immigrants in New York believe a Brooklyn federal judge’s ruling on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals w ill restore the Obama-era program in time for a new president.


NY Courts Slow Down Operations As More Employees Test Positive for COVID-19

Friday, November 13, 2020

Starting next week, courts throughout the state are taking new steps to decrease foot traffic and stop the spread of the coronavirus.


Republicans Stay Competitive In New York State Senate Races, They’re Crediting Bail Reform

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Democrats passed a law that they say created more equity in the bail system. But Republican's seized on that victory to amplify their law and order message and it appears to have worked.


Republican State Senate Candidates Seek to Put Democrats on the Defense Over Bail Reform

Friday, October 30, 2020

Two years after Democrats took over the New York State Senate, Republicans are hoping to chip away at their majority by making bail reform a top issue - especially on Long Island.


Court Rules Government Must Prove Danger to Community When Detaining an Immigrant for Long Term

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

A federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled the government has the burden of proof when trying to keep an immigrant in prolonged detention, so long as they're not a convicted criminal.


Immigration Arrest Tactics Come Under Scrutiny for Mimicking NYPD

Monday, October 26, 2020

Despite New York City's sanctuary law, ICE agents are accused of increasingly suggesting they’re NYPD to deceive immigrants into letting them into their homes.


Gang Violence on Long Island Has Fallen. Is It Thanks To Donald Trump?

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Months after being elected, the president vowed to eradicate the MS-13 international gang.


Newark Immigration System Sets up Video to Avoid In-Person Appearances

Thursday, October 08, 2020

The Justice Department says it's now allowing video conferences at the immigration court in Newark, following complaints over the resumption of in-person hearings over the summer.  


Plaintiffs in Long Island Voting Rights Case Claim Latino Votes Mean 'Nothing'

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

A group of Latino residents in Suffolk County claim the Town of Islip is violating their voting rights in a trial that opened Wednesday. 


Trial Begins Over Allegations that Long Island Town’s Voting System Disenfranchises Latinos

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

In Islip, in Suffolk County, Latinos account for more than 30 percent of the town’s more than 300,000 residents. Yet, no Latino has ever been elected to the town board.


New York’s Criminal Courts Are Getting Busier, But Are They Safe in Pandemic?

Monday, September 14, 2020

With grand juries hearing evidence now and felony defendants going to court in person, there are growing concerns the virus could spread again through the courts.

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Courts Try To Resume In-Person Proceedings As Safely As Possible

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Courts struggle to juggle a backlog of cases due to COVID-19, coupled with a growing number of new cases. New York City is trying to get people back in the courtroom however they can appear.


What An In-Person Trial Looks Like in a Socially Distanced Brooklyn Housing Court

Friday, August 21, 2020

Brooklyn housing court trials have resumed in a new location that’s considered safer in a pandemic than the cramped civil court building, but some parties prefer virtual trials.


With Rise In Shootings, NYC Mayor Questions Role of Pandemic-Affected Court System

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio has acknowledged there's no simple reason for the spike in shootings, but is he right when he claims the court system isn't "functioning" due to the pandemic?


Undocumented Immigrants Out Of Work During Pandemic Get Desperately-Needed Cash Assistance

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

A $20 million gift from the Open Society Foundations to New York City took a while to set up. It's now expected to be given out in full by the end of July.


What the New Rollbacks to Bail Reform Mean in New York

Thursday, July 02, 2020

New York’s new law eliminating bail for most offenses got overhauled in April after a backlash. The changes take effect July 2.


Calls Grow for Brooklyn Housing Court to Delay Reopening or Relocate

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Members of congress and state lawmakers say Brooklyn’s Housing court is too unsanitary and crowded to be reopened. Their letter asks the Mayor to permanently relocate it. 


Why the Lawyers Accused of Throwing a Molotov Cocktail at NYPD Police Car Are in Federal Court

Monday, June 22, 2020

Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis were arrested in the early hours of May 30th, after a chaotic night in which protesters threw bottles at police and the NYPD responded with force.

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SCOTUS Rules Trump Administration Can't End DACA

Thursday, June 18, 2020

WNYC's Jami Floyd and Beth Fertig discuss the Supreme Court's decision that the White House can't end the program that allows some children brought to the U.S. illegally to stay.