The SXSW Interactive Featured Session Feature: Glenn Greenwald

Written by Hugh Forrest | Friday, Feb 28, 2014

Glenn Greenwald speaks at SXSW on Monday, March 10

Featured Sessions at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival showcase some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. Today’s installment of the Featured Session Feature focuses on the investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald. At SXSW, attend his appropriately-titled session “A Conversation with Glenn Greenwald” session on Monday afternoon, March 10 from 3:30-4:30 pm.

Although his name returned to the spotlight in June 2013, when The Guardian published his reports on US and British global surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald was already well-known as a giant in the breakneck world of investigative reporting. An American political journalist, columnist, and civil rights litigator, Greenwald is a longtime fixture in political and legal channels. He was a columnist for Guardian US from August 2012 to October 2013, a columnist for from 2007 to 2012, and remains an occasional contributor to The Guardian. Greenwald has also contributed to top news magazines and publications, including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times.

Greenwald’s political and journalistic journey started in 1984, when he unsuccessfully ran for the city council while a senior in high school. After earning a B.A. from George Washington University in 1990 and a J.D. from New York University Law School in 1994, Greenwald practiced law for the next 11 years, but stepped away from his practice in 2005, when he decided that he “wanted to do other things which...were more engaging and could make more of an impact, including political writing.”

In 2005, Greenwald started his blog Unclaimed Territory, which focused on a number of high-profile political investigations, including the Plame affair, the CIA leak grand jury investigation, the indictment of Scooter Libby, and the NSA warrantless surveillance. Greenwald quickly made a name for himself as a political blogger, and Unclaimed Territory won the 2005 Koufax Award for “Best New Blog.”

Greenwald’s journalistic career quickly took off. In 2007, he began writing for, and in 2012 began writing for The Guardian in order to “reach a new audience.” In 2013, Greenwald “scooped” the story for the Verizon/National Security Agency telephone metadata leak, and was one of only two reporters who met with Edward Snowden in person. In October 2013, Greenwald left The Guardian to pursue First Look Media, a new venture with the backing of Pierre Omidyar (the founder of eBay).

In the nine years he has been a blogger, columnist, and journalist, Greenwald has contributed enormously. He was honored during the 2013 Online Journalism Awards, won the Esso Award for Excellence in Reporting in Brazil, and won the 2013 Pioneer Award from the Electrical Frontier Foundation. Greenwald has appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher, The Colbert Report, All Things Considered, and the Rachel Maddow Show, among many others.

His books include New York Times bestsellers How Would A Patriot Act? Defending American Values From a President Run Amok, A Tragic Legacy, and With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. His next book hits the market on April 29, 2014: No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State.

Greenwald currently lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with his partner David Michael Miranda. He explained that he chose to live in Brazil because of the Defense of Marriage Act ruling that prohibited Federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Although the pertinent section of the Act has since been overturned in U.S. v. Windsor, Greenwald remains in Brazil with Miranda and their 11 rescued stray dogs.

Register now to be part of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival and to attend the “Conversation with Glenn Greenwald” session on Monday, March 10. For the full picture of all sessions and evening events at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival, visit the day-by-day schedule. Also, learn more about the best of the best programming for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival by visiting the new Recommendations page.