Research and behind-the-scenes
tales from Forensic Firsts

Ted Schaar freelance business writer


Good writing begins with good research—from scrutinizing the audience to discovering details that inform readers and viewers and capture their imaginations.

I have been fortunate enough to spend scores of hours in libraries, now also regularly explore the nearly limitless information available on the Web, and am an enthusiastic phone and e-mail interviewer.

Several years ago, I was hired by a Chicago production company to perform research for two segments of a History Channel series called Forensic Firsts.

This assignment put me in touch with many fascinating individuals, including Forensic Firearms Consultant Stanton O. Berg and Scott Christianson, author of Condemned: Inside the Sing Sing Death House. Another highpoint was working with CBS News archives personnel to locate film footage of New York's infamous Mad Bomber (George Metesky) upon his arrest in 1957.

In the case of mysterious firearms identification pioneer Charles E. Waite, I called Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx and asked Catherine McKenna—a very helpful employee—to visit Mr. Waite's grave. My hope was she would find a headstone listing his date of birth. The grave, however, was unmarked. Ultimately I requested a copy of Mr. Waite's 1926 death certificate from the City of New York and identified his birthday as June 28, 1865.

If you need to get to the bottom of something, I can help, regardless of the topic.

For more information, full-length samples, and a list of references, please call 414 795-6117 or e-mail