Nieman Watchdog Project

Now in its sixth year online, the Nieman Watchdog site ( continues to help encourage better reporting on public policy issues, including holding leaders accountable for their actions; focusing on under-reported or poorly reported issues; inviting experts to serve as guides and sources; citing outstanding reportorial work; and reminding editors and reporters about important stories whenever they start to fade from public view.

New Projects

We launched a major new series this year titled “Reporting the Economic Collapse,” which provides guidance for reporters and editors covering the complexities of the economic crisis. The project also examines how the press has reported the crash and offers a number of interviews with experts on the topic including world poverty specialist Jeffrey Sachs, Harvard Professor Linda Bilmes and economists James Galbraith, Dean Baker and Simon Johnson.

Moving Forward

Looking ahead, we plan to launch a project on the criminal justice system in the United States. As part of that, we envision reaching out to local and regional news organizations through reporters, columnists and bloggers who cover criminal justice.

Other major efforts to encourage in-depth reporting this past year included examinations of torture and other questionable or illegal Bush administration activities, health care, poverty, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Goals for the coming year include upgrading our blog section; doing more that will be of interest to regional news organizations; and continuing our focus on the most important public policy issues. As always, we encourage journalists to research these topics and report on them by asking the right questions.

Over time, the Watchdog site has made important contributions on reporting regarding Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, torture, election security, missile defense, health care, the telecom industry, gas prices, poverty and numerous other issues. We know that reporters at major news organizations read the Watchdog site and we hope to continue to expand our audience as we expand our breadth of coverage.

- Barry Sussman
Editor, Nieman Watchdog