Academic Research as an Investigative Journalism Tool: Tips to Get You Started

December 15, 2022
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Virtual Webinar
The Journalist’s Resource is a project of the Shorenstein Center aimed at bridging the gap between journalism and academia. Its primary goal is helping journalists improve their work by relying more often on scientific evidence and high-quality, peer-reviewed research.

Academic research is a crucial tool for investigating problems and holding the powerful accountable. This one-hour webinar covered how scholarly studies and collaborating with researchers can strengthen news coverage — and aid journalists at each stage of the investigative reporting process. Attendees left with a list of tips and resources you could use right away from ProPublica reporter Neil Bedi, Cleveland State University criminologist Rachel Lovell, and the managing editor of The Journalist’s Resource, Denise-Marie Ordway.

Neil Bedi is a reporter for ProPublica. While at the Tampa Bay Times, he won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting for an investigation into a predictive policing project that harassed residents and profiled adolescents. He was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series investigating high death rates at a Florida children’s hospital’s cardiac surgery unit.

Rachel Lovell is an assistant professor of criminology and director of the Criminology Research Center at Cleveland State University in Ohio. Since 2015, she has been the principal investigator on several research projects on untested sexual assault kits. An advocate for reporter-researcher collaborations, she has helped journalists investigate issues such as sexual violence and human trafficking.

Denise-Marie Ordway trains journalists in academic research methods as part of her role as managing editor of The Journalist’s Resource at Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, she reported for several newspapers and radio stations in the U.S. and Central America and, in 2013, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting for an investigative series she led on hazing at Florida A&M University.