SOC Journo Update

IRW celebrates 10 years — and a fresh look

The Investigative Reporting Workshop, based at AU SOC, was founded in 2008 by longtime investigative journalist and professor Chuck Lewis, who continues to report and write for the site and national publications.

Over the last 10 years, the Workshop has published more than 200 stories, won a dozen national awards and trained more than 140 students.

The Workshop focuses on government and corporate accountability, with topics ranging widely from the environment and health to national security and the economy. It also has reported numerous stories on immigration, police shootings and sexual assault.

As part of its tenth-year celebration, IRW has also undergone a complete redesign of its digital home,

Explore the new site and learn more.

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

Untangling the issues of today

In Mechanicsville, Virginia, an area steeped in Civil War history, community members came together to debate the proposed renaming of two schools honoring Confederate figures.

Debbie Truong, a recent journalism and public affairs graduate, covered these events as part of her job as a Washington Post fellow. She covers education in Virginia, reporting on issues that took the national stage in the year of her fellowship, including student activism, teacher diversity, and school shootings.

“I think it was interesting to see two schools that wanted to keep their names and get a sense of why there’s an attachment to them in the first place,” Truong says.

The range of stories she’s worked on is diverse. From a student being kicked out of class for refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance to how difficult it is for staff members to live on a $28,000 salary in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, Truong’s covered thorny issues that impact everyday lives, even if people don’t realize it.

Keep reading.

Fake News: How to make sure what you’re reading is credible

Professor John Watson was recently on FOX 5 in Washington, D.C., about how to make sure news you’re sharing and reading is credible. His tips? Rely on verification in the mainstream media. Don't assume a link is actually to a credible media outlet. Look for language errors.

Watch the clip.

Award-winning investigative journalist named AU CPI Fellow

Mark Olalde, a freelance investigative journalist who has worked in Malawi, South Africa, Sweden and the Caribbean, is now in Washington, D.C., as the latest Center for Public Integrity fellow at AU SOC while he earns his MA in Journalism and Public Affairs. 

Keep reading.

Oct. 12: Mind to Mind symposium at SOC

AU and IRW are partnering with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting on Mind to Mind, a symposium about how journalists and academics can combine their strengths to collaborate on complex stories. Experts will include a mix of researchers, attorneys, economists and journalists. Topics will range from #MeToo to the next U.S. census.

Keep reading and register.

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Media Moves

  • Breanna Edwards (pictured) moved from The Root to Editor for News, Politics and Issues at Essence.
  • New alum Erin Logan (SOC/MA '18), has a job covering politics and business at Howard County Times, a community newspaper for the Baltimore Sun. She recently covered a heated debate over razing 19 buildings in Ellicott City, Maryland, to mitigate floods.
  • Candice Norwood (graduation speaker) moved from Politico to become Web Producer and Writer at Governing Magazine.
  • Alejandro Alvarez is now Digital Editor/Writer at WTOP. He also monitors protests in D.C., providing an updated list as a resource.
  • New alum Lauren Lumpkin (SOC/BA '18 and graduation speaker) is now covering education at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • Briona Arradondo (SOC/MA '11, pictured) moved from Nashville to Fox 13 TV in Tampa as a general assignment reporter.
  • New alum Michelai Graham (SOC/MA '18) is now a DC Market Editor & Tech Reporter at
  • Mawal Sidi (SOC/BA '18) will be back in D.C. joining CNN as a news associate.

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, Oct. 24, 7 p.m.: American Forum with Prof. Jane Hall. Will Young People Tip the Balance in the Midterm Elections? A Town Hall with Students and Experts. More info.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.: Prof. Lewis leads a Q&A with Seymour Hersh about Hersh's new book, Reporter: A Memoir. More info.

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 © 2018 AU School of Communication, Journalism Div, All rights reserved.

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