SOC Journo Update

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Now is the time. SOC is the place.

WHCA and SOC announce scholarship focused on investigative reporting

The White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) and the School of Communication (SOC) at American University are pleased to announce the creation of a new scholarship partnership aimed at encouraging investigative journalism.

“Whether it’s seeing a pattern others have missed, or unearthing secrets deliberately concealed by those in power, or doing the demanding and grinding work of sifting through public records, investigative reporting is vital to a healthy republic,” said Olivier Knox, president of the WHCA. “I’m thrilled that the WHCA has partnered with American University to underline that fact.”

The scholarship will be awarded each year to an undergraduate or graduate student in journalism at the School of Communication who shows promise in the field of investigative journalism. It will be for $5,000, with half coming from the WHCA and half coming from the university. 

Keep reading.

American University, POLITICO Diversity Initiative and Maynard Institute welcomes largest class

POLITICO announced its 2019 class of the POLITICO Journalism Institute (PJI), an educational initiative dedicated to diversifying Washington-area newsrooms. PJI will offer 16 university students and recent graduates intensive, hands-on training in political and policy reporting. The program, a partnership with American University and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, reflects POLITICO's commitment to developing the next wave of emerging, top-notch journalists and diversifying the talent pipeline in Washington. 

Keep reading.

Rep. Steve Cohen talks Trump, impeachment, AOC and the 2020 Election

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, (D-TN), engaged in a lively discussion with AU students that ranged from immigration to impeachment, moderated by Professor Jane Hall, director of American University School of Communication's American Forum.

The live event was recorded for distribution on the new American Forum Café podcast. Graduate and undergraduate journalism and political communication students asked Cohen questions on important issues facing Congress and the country — issues on which he is playing a prominent role. Cohen is best known for introducing articles of impeachment against Donald Trump last year, before the Democrats gained a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Keep reading and listen to the podcast.

Stonewall 50: Exploring the role of the LGBT media representations in the LGBT liberation movement

Top journalists, media scholars, filmmakers and activists explored the impact of media representations on the LGBT liberation movement and ways in which visibility helped advance rights and how erasure today still impedes progress at a panel discussion last Wednesday. Professor Sherri Williams moderated the program, which included Joshua Johnson, Host of 1A, WAMU/ NPR, Ruby Corado, Founder of Casa Ruby, Greta Schiller, Filmmaker, Before Stonewall, and Professor Rodger Streitmatter, author of "Unspeakable: The Rise of the Gay and Lesbian Press in America."

The New Playbook for Navigating the Newsroom in the #MeToo era

How has #MeToo changed the newsroom? Gloria Riviera of ABC News and co-founder of Press Forward led a conversation with Maya Raghu, director of workplace equality and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, Assistant Professor Sherri Williams and CNN Media Senior Media Reporter Oliver Darcy.

Read the live-tweets.

Cold Case: A Conversation with Jerry Mitchell

Celebrated investigative journalist and MacArthur "genius" grant winner Jerry Mitchell spoke with Assistant Professor Sherri Williams about Mitchell's tenacious work for Mississippi's The Clarion-Ledger that have exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations, criminal convictions, reforms of state agencies, and the firings of boards and officials.

Perhaps most notably, his work helped put four Klansmen behind bars: Byron De La Beckwith for the 1963 assassination of NAACP leader Medgar Evers; Imperial Wizard Sam Bowers, for ordering the fatal firebombing of NAACP leader Vernon Dahmer in 1966; Bobby Cherry, for the 1963 bombing of a Birmingham church that killed four girls; and Edgar Ray Killen, for helping organize the 1964 killings of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner (popularized by the fictional movie about that case, Mississippi Burning).

Keep reading.

Investigative Spotlight

Here at SOC, we’ve been teaching investigative journalism for more than a decade, with an investigative track for graduate students since 2013; home to the Investigative Reporting Workshop since 2008; and the only university to have a Frontline production unit embedded in the school.

In honor of our 10+ year commitment to investigative journalism, we'll be featuring investigative journalists and their work. Do you have an AU SOC investigative journalist to recommend? Get in touch.

SOC alumna breaks news of Coast Guard lieutenant’s planned attack

The Washington Post’s reporting on Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson started like most stories — with a tip from a source, said Lynh Bui, who reported the story on Hasson’s arrest and the weapons investigators found in his home.

“Someone called and mentioned court records I should sift through,” Bui said. “When I found Hasson’s case, the alleged details were stunning.”

Bui said Hasson’s initial arrest on gun and drug charges weren’t remarkable, but the later court records revealed startling revelations. According to prosecutors, Hasson was stockpiling weapons and drugs in his Maryland home and studying terrorist manifestos in order to execute a widespread attack on politicians and media personalities.

“I quickly got to work writing up the documents in addition to calling defense attorneys, prosecutors and federal authorities,” Bui said. 

Keep reading.

Pods at The Post: Former SOC student explores the power of audio for journalism

Jordan-Marie Smith, associate producer at The Washington Post, believes that one of the strengths of audio journalism is its intimacy. 

“You can hear someone and their emotions and their pattern of speech and their intonation. And you don’t really have that with print. It’s a two-dimensional story, but you can make it three dimensional with audio.”

Keep reading.

Journalism Division Director Amy Eisman features work by SOC alumni and current journalism students on a Brag Board outside her office.

Shout Outs

Covering 2020?

Let us know if your internship or job is involved with 2020 election coverage.
We'll list you in a future newsletter.

Upcoming Events

  • The Investigative Reporting Workshop's 10th Anniversary Celebration, Wednesday, April 18, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Media Innovation Lab. Free reception, short program. Reservation required.

Read, Watch, Listen

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 © 2019 AU School of Communication, Journalism Div, All rights reserved.

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