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Robert Downen is a reporter covering democracy and the threats to it, including extremism, disinformation and conspiracies. Before joining the Tribune in 2022, he worked for five years at the Houston Chronicle. As a Hearst Media fellow, he developed what would become “Abuse of Faith,” a landmark investigation into child sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention that prompted a Department of Justice investigation. Before coming to Texas, Robert was a business reporter in New York’s capital region, and the managing editor of six newspapers in his home state of Illinois. He is a 2014 graduate of Eastern Illinois University.