SOC Journo Update

Investigate. Innovate. Inform.
Now is the time. SOC is the place.


Despite the obstacles of a pandemic, the unprecedented political season and amid the ongoing push for racial justice nationwide, faculty and students in the #AUJournalism programs pressed on.

As we embrace the fresh start of 2021, including a new dean and celebrating new White House correspondents (see below), here’s one more lap through the successes of last fall.

Sam Fulwood III Joins SOC as Dean

After an extensive international search, American University has selected prominent journalist, public policy analyst and author Sam Fulwood III as the Dean of the SOC. Fulwood currently serves as a Senior Fellow and Vice President of Race and Equity at the Center for American Progress.

His nationally and internationally recognized work addresses key issues including media influences on American life; race relations; data-driven journalism; and the intersection of media, technology, and democracy, which are all priority areas of focus for SOC. He is the former director and founder of American Progress’s Leadership Institute, a program to assist with the advancement of people of color in public policy.

Keep reading.

Cecilia Vega (center), Senior White House and Political Correspondent for CBS, at an event on campus in October 2018.

AU Alumni cover the White House

We’ve been watching announcements about the prestigious White House journalism beat and so far we have counted five AU alums in the house!

Newly named ABC Chief White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega (SOC, BA '99); Ed O’Keefe (SPA, BA '05), as Senior White House and Political Correspondent for CBS; Courtney Rozen (SOC, BA '18, MA '19) as White House Correspondent for Bloomberg Government; Nikki Schwab (SOC, MA '07), Senior U.S. Political Reporter for the Daily Mail; and Seung Min Kim, (SOC, MA '09), continues as White House Reporter for the Washington Post.

Investigations and the law: What journalists need to know

Tuesday, Feb. 9
6 p.m. ET

Join Barbara Wall and Thomas Curley in a conversation and Q&A about what to expect from your legal team; how to work with a lawyer during the reporting process as well as after it; and what to do if your news organization doesn't have a law firm on retainer. These two legal eagles have worked on many impactful editorial projects, including the Indianapolis Star's in-depth stories on years of abuse of girls and young women training in USA Gymnastics. The conversation will be moderated by Dr. John Watson, professor of journalism at SOC.

More info and register.

MA students in The Washington Post practicum course rocked the semester

Graduate students in the signature journalism practicum course led by IRW Senior Editor John Sullivan at The Washington Post spent the semester tracking court cases related to voting, sometimes filing at 4 a.m. Their work drew praise from Post editors.

Keep reading about this unique MA opportunity: a class, with desks, at The Washington Post.

Prof. Williams led 'Vision 2020' election project

To magnify the concerns of young voters with diverse experiences and backgrounds, SOC professor and journalist Dr. Sherri Williams launched the “Vision 2020: Election Stories from The Next Generation” project in partnership with The Nation Magazine.

The project focuses on magnifying the concerns of young voters from diverse experiences and backgrounds, leading up to the most critical election of our lifetime. Nine AU student journalists, one student from Syracuse University and another from University of Kansas were able to contribute to the project and have their stories published.

Students worked on one long-form story related to major election issues during the spring 2020 semester (January-May 2020) and those who met all deadlines and produced quality articles, had their stories published by The Nation in summer/fall, 2020.

Keep reading.
Explore the project.

Award-winning journalist Yamiche Alcindor on politics and media in 2020

Yamiche Alcindor, White House correspondent for PBS NewsHour, held an inspiring conversation with AU students about Donald Trump, the 2020 election and her work reporting on, and dealing with, issues of race and gender in media and politics. Professor Jane Hall moderated the event, co-produced by SOC and the Kennedy Political Union, with questions from editors of campus publications the Blackprint, the Eagle and Visible. 

Read more.
Watch clips from the live event.

More remote reporting? No problem for undergrads

Student journalists in Professor Margot Susca’s Reporting class dove into the news despite the barriers. See the class website, District, for articles including one about rural Rhode Islanders supporting Black Lives Matter and the police.

Students in Professor Jane Hall’s Advanced Reporting course likewise tackled election topics from the environment, LGBTQ+ and marijauna, to problems with mail-in ballots, voting in Pennsylvania and who supported Kanye West.

See the coverage.

More AU at Washington Post - on Page 1

Wow! A front-page article by AU SOC Washington Post Fellow Lola Fadula tackling one of most important topics of the year — the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine. Lola covers Health for the Metro desk.

Read the story and also listen to Lola's interview about the story on the Post Reports podcast.

Students pivoted to remote internships

See how Tori Powell (SOC, BA '21) and her supervisors made it work with her remote internship at the Center for Public Integrity.

Read more.

Covering the summer protests

A first? Students in the 2020 summer Washington Post capstone teamed up with summer IRW fellow and now Post reporter, Meryl Kornfeld, on an investigative story looking at the arrests of protesters across the country. Their story had all their bylines!

Read the story.


Faculty Updates

  • Prof. Chris Halsne wrote a piece for the Investigative Reporting Workshop about police-department purchases early last summer in response to thousands who protested George Floyd's death in Minneapolis and police brutality nationwide. 
  • Prof. Margot Susca had an interview with Jim Iovino, founder of the NewStart Alliance at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media about what 2021 holds for news publications. Susca said private equity hedge funds are likely to take a bigger role in the newspaper landscape, but she expects more nonprofit newsrooms will open and expand to fill the void. Read more here.
  • Two students in Prof. Terry Bryant's Backpack Video Journalism class — Katrina Kincade and Emma Galasso — earned "Student Emmys" from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter for their work. See photo below.

Alumni Updates

Other Updates

  • Congrats to Kimberly Cataudella (SOC BA ‘20, MA expected ‘21), AU Fellow at the Center for Public Integrity, for her contribution to a national project, “Barriers to the Ballot Box,” which included data from thousands of FOIA requests. The year-long project resulted in a national data release this fall, shedding light on polling place location changes. 
Investigate. Innovate. Inform.
Now is the time, SOC is the place.
Support #AUJournalism.

SOC Journo Update is a publication of the Journalism Division, from American University's School of Communication. Read more about storytelling in the digital age and see our faculty.
Copyright © 2021 AU School of Communication, Journalism Div, All rights reserved.

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