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Nieman Reports on University-Based Reporting

Journalism schools and departments are partnering with news organizations as students report and newspapers, TV and radio stations, and news websites publish and broadcast their work. These opportunities give students a chance to report for a news organization while responding to a pressing need as newsrooms lose staff during tough economic times. Those who direct these initiatives—and a journalist whose investigative work was made possible because of such university affiliations—wrote in Nieman Reports about the benefits these partnerships hold for students and faculty. Links to their stories are provided below.


American University: Investigative Reporting Workshop

Chuck Lewis, who founded the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity in the 1990’s and more recently the Investigative Reporting Workshop within the School of Communication at American University, wrote in Nieman Reports about the effort to find news ways to support investigative reporting. The Investigative Reporting Workshop conducts multimedia investigative journalism projects on a national and international scale, and collaborates with msnbc.com, Frontline and McClatchy Newspapers. It also experiments with new models for creating and delivering investigative projects.




Boston University: The New England Center for Investigative Reporting

Investigative reporters Maggie Mulvihill and Joe Bergantino wrote in Nieman Reports about NECIR, the nonprofit investigative reporting collaborative they launched at Boston University in January 2009. Its focus is on covering local and regional issues—with the active engagement of students. Under their leadership, NECIR has established partnerships with several of the region’s leading news organizations. It is also part of a national effort spearheaded by the Center for Public Integrity to create a network of regional investigative reporting centers.




Boston University and Emerson College: A Partnership with the Christian Science Monitor

Doug Struck, a former foreign correspondent for several newspapers, described in Nieman Reports the collaborative effort that produced “Blowing Smoke,” a global investigative report published by The Christian Science Monitor. Neither The Christian Science Monitor nor Boston University’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) would have undertaken this story on its own. The Deer Creek Foundation’s money helped to make it possible, and assistance from journalism students and faculty at Emerson College and NECIR was vital, as a supplement to the reporting done by foreign correspondents at the Monitor.




Brandeis University: The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism

Florence Graves, who founded The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism in 2004 as the nation’s first investigative reporting center based at a university, wrote in Nieman Reports, about how this institute tries to address the increasing void in high-quality public interest and investigative journalism. As she explained, “Our ongoing interaction with students comes in working closely with those we hire to assist us with our investigations; we get superb research assistance, while we mentor them and offer an intimate sense of what is required to do in-depth reporting.”




Northeastern University: A Collaborative Reporting Initiative with The Boston Globe

Walter V. Robinson, who led investigations at The Boston Globe, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning report on the clergy sexual abuse scandal, wrote for Nieman Reports about mentoring journalism students as they work on investigative stories for the Globe and other news organizations. He wrote that there is “ opportunity for collaboration in almost any city with a newspaper and a college or university journalism program. For news organizations that can no longer afford to do much enterprise and investigative reporting, journalism students eager for experience—and bylines—can help fill the void.”



Tufts University: Institute for Global Leadership


Sherman Teichman described Exposure—the Institute for Global Leadership’s photojournalism, documentary studies, and human rights program—in an article he wrote for Nieman Reports. Documentary filmmakers and photojournalists, including those affiliated with the VII Photo Agency and Contact Press, mentor students. Exposure probes the ethical and educational challenges of the media’s role in bringing important social and international issues to the public’s attention. Students have investigated the impact of Colombian death squads and the consequences of crude oil capitalism in Azerbaijan.