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Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Alexa Mills‘ name first appeared in the pages of Washington City Paper in April 2004, when freelance writer Justin Peters (who would later become her husband) included the young D.C. domestic violence victim advocate in a cover story about the District’s used mattress market.

As the story noted, she paid $100 for it and rode home with the delivery guys in a Dodge Caravan. When she asked them whether it was clean, they told her to buy one of those mattress covers and that she’d be all set.

Twelve years later, after her stints contributing for The Boston Globe and The Washington Post, among other publications, I hired Mills to become managing editor at City Paper, where she has distinguished herself by leading the research and reporting efforts on perhaps the paper’s most notable editorial lift of the year: a series of stories about major D.C. landlord Sanford Capital, whose tenants have long suffered in substandard conditions while the company has been enriched by taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Beginning in mid-August, Mills, 36, will take the helm here as editor, replacing me as I return abroad for family reasons. Publisher Eric Norwood and I believe she is best positioned to continue the paper’s strengthened focus on hard-hitting news and to provide continuity for our accomplished editorial staff. 

A 2003 graduate of Cornell University, Mills also has a masters in journalism from Northeastern University and a masters in city planning from MIT. Her front-page investigative Post piece on Sept. 4, 2016—an exhaustive story about a 19-year-old Army private who was lynched on a military base in 1941 that uncovered never-before-reviewed federal government files—helped draw our attention to her innumerable talents.

Mills is equal parts fearless reporter, digital geek, and delightful weirdo. The paper will no doubt flourish under her thoughtful watch.

The new title will go along with the upgraded mail-order mattress she bought last year—though it’s just resting on the plastic wrap, embellished by neither frame nor box spring.