NECIR Student Programs http://studentprograms.necir.org Investigative Journalism Programs for Students Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:51:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.10 2017 National Young Watchdog Reporter Announcement http://studentprograms.necir.org/2017-national-young-watchdog-reporter-announcement/ Thu, 11 May 2017 19:46:01 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1149   Thank you to all the talented high school journalists who submitted entries to our National Young Watchdog Reporter Award. With such high quality work, they did not make it easy on the judges. So without further ado, the winner […]

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AND THE WINNER IS....

 

Thank you to all the talented high school journalists who submitted entries to our National Young Watchdog Reporter Award. With such high quality work, they did not make it easy on the judges.

So without further ado, the winner of the 2017 National Young Watchdog Reporter Award is Meghan Bobrowsky from Davis Senior High School in Davis, California. Her story “Teachers are in high demand, but Davis salaries continue to lag” published by The Davis Enterprise include many essential elements of a quality investigative report: smart use of data, revelation of previously hidden or unfamiliar information, and a fair-minded approach. Meghan said that her story “sparked community discussion and allowed people of all ages to talk about the problem affecting our city.”

Our second place winner is Teresa Xie from University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, Illinois, for her story, “For Some Girls in a Top Model UN Club, the Sexism Is All Too Real” for Women’s eNews. “My hope was that the piece would provide a larger commentary on women in the power in the world, or workplaces in general. Even when women do rise to power, they are often not treated seriously,” said Teresa.

Finally, our third place winner is Nicole Konopelko from Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas. Her story, “A Place To Finally Call One’s Own: A glimpse into a student’s journey to find home,” provided readers insight on homelessness and its impact on a student. Nicole said that her article in The Booster Redux “speaks volume to the power of journalism. It promoted progress and documented a detrimental issue that most of our community was uninformed on.”

Congratulations to our winners!

  • 2017 National Young Watchdog Reporter: Meghan Bobrowsky, Davis Senior High School, Davis, CA
  • Second place: Teresa Xie, University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, Chicago, IL
  • Third place: Nicole Konopelko, Pittsburg High School, Pittsburg, KS

Winners were selected by the professional reporting staff of the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University.

 

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High School Journalists: Some Things I Wish I Knew http://studentprograms.necir.org/for-high-school-journalists/ Tue, 11 Apr 2017 18:03:52 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1137 If you’re a high schooler interested in journalism, congratulations, because you’re already a step ahead of where I was in high school. I didn’t decide to pursue journalism until I started applying to colleges and realized I needed to choose […]

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High-School-Journalists-Things-I-Wish-I-Knew

If you’re a high schooler interested in journalism, congratulations, because you’re already a step ahead of where I was in high school. I didn’t decide to pursue journalism until I started applying to colleges and realized I needed to choose something to study.

Thankfully, though, I love my haphazardly chosen major, and after some classes and my NECIR internship, I can pass down some advice to you intrepid high school reporters.

First of all, teenagers should be interested in investigative reporting because they’re coming of age in a world that needs it. In fact, the world has always needed investigative reporters. If you haven’t already talked about them in a history class, check out the investigative journalists of the 1900s, “muckrakers” like Lincoln Steffens or Ida Tarbell.

Reporters of today dig into many of the same issues the muckrakers did. Ida B. Wells publicized the horrible reality of lynching in the south in the late 19th century; a Washington Post team won a Pulitzer Prize for its database of 991 fatal police shootings that took place in 2015.

Journalists can use their skills to expose these problems and, in doing so, help fix them. This is an exciting opportunity I think all journalists—especially high schoolers just starting out and looking for inspiration—should consider.

Becoming a good investigative reporter takes years, and although I can’t call myself an investigator yet, my semester at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting has taught me a lot. Some things I wish I knew at the beginning:

  1. Boldness is always rewarded.
  2. People usually want to tell their stories.
  3. You don’t have to feel discouraged.

Shyness has never helped me at any point in this internship. I was often asked to cold call people who had no idea who I was. I had to confidently state my name, my organization, and then ask them deeply personal questions. In a normal, everyday interaction with a stranger, I would never do this. But for an investigative reporter, these calls are commonplace.

An upside to this is that it was rare for people to snap at me and refuse to talk. Sometimes, all people want is someone to talk to about their problems, and you can be the ear they need. I talked for an hour on the phone with a complete stranger about the difficulties she had with her late mother’s reverse mortgage. When our conversation was over, she thanked me for listening.

When people did refuse to talk to me, or when a story’s subject matter seemed heavy, I didn’t let myself get discouraged. NECIR investigates difficult topics, like the deaths of children in state custody. I looked into some stories myself that are, frankly, depressing. When I felt myself getting bogged down, I remembered the muckrakers and the modern journalists who have been rewarded for their efforts with reform.

Good luck in the beginnings of your journalism career, and know that journalists everywhere are here to help. If you have any questions about NECIR, or you just want to talk about what it’s like to be a student journalist, you can email me at mrsuarez@bu.edu.

 

Miranda Suarez, a journalism major at Boston University, will complete her internship at NECIR in June.

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For those who love journalism… http://studentprograms.necir.org/i-love-journalism/ Fri, 24 Mar 2017 18:26:18 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1118 Last week, I attended the 93rd Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Spring Convention. Determined to beat the northeast winter blizzard and not miss the convention, I drove to New York Monday afternoon. As the storm passed through New York on […]

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Last week, I attended the 93rd Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Spring Convention. Determined to beat the northeast winter blizzard and not miss the convention, I drove to New York Monday afternoon.

As the storm passed through New York on Tuesday, I sat in my hotel room watching the news and reflecting on the great work of journalists. Going to the CSPA, I had a lot of questions for the students I would meet. What made them passionate about journalism? What made them decide that they wanted to be journalists at such a young age? Would they be interested in investigative journalism and why? Would they make it through the storm?

I barely slept that night, but I woke up Wednesday morning feeling ready to hear these students’ stories and have my questions answered.

NECIR's table at the 2017 Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Spring Convention.

NECIR’s table at the 2017 Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) Spring Convention.

I watched as hundreds of students from across the nation arrived at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall. After checking in with their faculty advisers and chaperones, students took to their own adventure in the exhibitor’s hall exploring what every table had to offer. When they came to our table, they had questions. “What is The New England Center for Investigative Reporting?”

Before I told them about our program, I wanted to know more about them, what they liked, what made them truck through the storm to get here, and what they wanted to be. Many who visited our table were on the yearbook committee interested in design and telling stories about their classmates to remember for a lifetime. Others had interesting backgrounds in engineering and science, but wanted to learn more about journalism to improve their writing skills.

Then there were the hard-core journalists. They lived and breathed journalism. They told the stories that people should read and hear about. No matter what anyone told them, they knew the stories they wrote and covered were just as important as any class they took in school.

Of the many students I met, one student almost made me cry.

Her name is Tess. She is the editor of Fenton InPrint of Fenton High School. This is what she said to me when I asked her to tell me about herself and why she chose journalismNECIR-ILoveJournalism in high school.

I love journalism. I know when I grow up that is what I want to be. People have said to me, “Why do you want to major in a something that will cause you and your parents to be in debt?” I don’t know why they would say something like that to me. Going to college is about following your dreams and doing something you love. For me, I love journalism. This is what I am passionate about. I get to tell stories that matter and make a difference. Where else can you do that? I just love my job. It might be stressful, but I know that I am doing something meaningful. For me, that’s all that matters.

I asked her if I could give her a big hug; she said yes. I thanked her. I thanked her for her passion and thanked her for sharing her story with me.

This is why NECIR is invested in teaching students about journalism, especially investigative journalism. We want them to follow their passion and build the skills they need to be the next great journalist. And where else can they do this, but in the city of Boston – one of the top cities for reporters – learning from award-winning journalists at Boston University’s College of Communication, one of the top 10 colleges for journalism in the nation.

For student like Tess, or any other student interested in journalism, we want to help them take the next step to getting closer to their dream. We want them to come investigate their world and make a difference in it.

To all the high school writers and journalists out there, I commend and thank you for your work. I hope that you will take that next step – whatever it may be.

Ermolande, Student Program Manager at NECIR at Boston University

Learn about NECIR’s summer workshop on investigative reporting at Boston University — designed expressly for high school students.
Applications now being accepted for 2017.

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The National Young Watchdog Reporter Award http://studentprograms.necir.org/the-national-young-watchdog-reporter-award/ Mon, 13 Mar 2017 14:32:03 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1112 The National Young Watchdog Reporter Award The New England Center for Investigative Reporting is seeking outstanding examples of student investigative journalism for its second annual National Young Watchdog Reporter contest for investigations reported by high school journalists. The first place […]

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The National Young Watchdog Reporter Award

The New England Center for Investigative Reporting is seeking outstanding examples of student investigative journalism for its second annual National Young Watchdog Reporter contest for investigations reported by high school journalists.

The first place winner will win a spot in NECIR’s 2017 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop at Boston University at the session of their choice ($2,500 value), and have his/her work published on NECIR’s student programs website. The winning student is responsible for travel and any Boston University boarding costs (housing and meal plan), if staying on campus.

Second and third place winners will receive a $500 discount to attend the workshop, and have their investigations published on NECIR’s student programs website as outstanding examples of investigative journalism for other high school journalists to reference. All winners will receive plaques recognizing their accomplishments.

The contest will be judged by NECIR staff investigators. Deadline for entries is May 5, 2017.

Contest Guidelines:

  • Submit your investigations that have been published/broadcast between January 2016 and April 2017.
  • Email submissions should include:
    • Student’s name, postal address, email address and phone number
    • High school
    • Graduation year
    • Scan or file of, or link to, the article being submitted
    • Brief summary including the importance of the investigation in your school or community and the process of reporting and writing the piece (roughly 300-350 words).
  • Send your submissions to NECIR Student Programs Manager Ermolande Jean-Simon at ermyjs@bu.edu with the subject line: 2017 WATCHDOG CONTEST.
  • Submissions will be judged based on quality of writing and strength of investigation.
  • A list of six finalists (student name and school) will be announced on NECIR’s student programs site on May 9, with first, second and third place winners announced on May 11.

 

About NECIR

New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University seeks to strengthen democracy through producing and preserving investigative reporting in the public interest. Its work appears regularly in the Boston Globe and on WGBH, as well as national news outlets. Its reports have trained hundreds of high school, college students and mid-career journalists through workshops, classes and seminars. Learn more at www.necir.org.

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Reflecting on the 2016 Summer Workshop: Stephanie http://studentprograms.necir.org/reflecting-on-the-2016-summer-workshop-stephanie/ Fri, 06 Jan 2017 14:43:22 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1088 This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop. By Stephanie Strickland, Florida I vividly remember my heart skipping a beat when I read the email that said I […]

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This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop.

By Stephanie Strickland, Florida

I vividly remember my heart skipping a beat when I read the email that said I would have the opportunity to attend the Boston University NECIR Summer Workshop. Soon thereafter, I would find myself packing my bags and flying across the country to dip my toes into the threshold of my future career.

Ever since my introduction to the school newspaper during my sophomore year I have been passionate about pursuing a job within the journalism industry. I saw this workshop as a linchpin of obtaining that career, and it exceeded expectations.

I have been to numerous journalism and scholastic workshops; however, have failed to learn even a fraction of the knowledge I accumulated throughout my time at NECIR.

Each morning I learned generalized topics about the journalism industry, such as headlines and article topics. This session aided me throughout my work as Editor-in-Chief of my high school, as well as, my own investigative story, which I would complete during my time at this camp.

In the afternoons, we typically saw guest speakers who informed us of what they personally contribute to the journalism industry, and how we can do the same. This was very inspirational, because as many students stand in the gateway of adulthood, finding jobs and careers can be taxing; however, these individuals encouraged us to stay within the journalism world.

Finally, we concluded our classes with our own investigative stories. Every student was divided into various groups based on their selected story topics, and within these groups students were to compile a myriad of articles on a particular topic, with the help of their advisors. The advisor I had was very helpful in teaching and guiding us, and even obtained pertinent interviewees that added greatly to each of our stories.

I remember telling my parents that this workshop would likely make or break my desire to pursue writing and journalism, and we were all relieved to learn that NECIR had become a positive force on my future career.

As I reflect on the decisions I’ve made, I find that attending this workshop was a great one. Not only did I grow as a writer, but also as an individual, and this workshop reinvigorated my motivation to pursue an education and career in this field.

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Where Are They Now: Nicole Fallert, 2014 Workshop http://studentprograms.necir.org/where-are-they-now-nicole-fallert-2014-workshop/ Thu, 08 Dec 2016 10:06:09 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1068 By Nicole Fallert I always knew I wanted to study journalism, but my summer at NECIR showed me what that would really look like. Everyday we were in class receiving feedback from professionals, and I was overwhelmed by that level […]

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By Nicole Fallert

I always knew I wanted to study journalism, but my summer at NECIR showed me what that would really look like. Everyday we were in class receiving feedback from professionals, and I was overwhelmed by that level of personal attention.

Nicole Fallert reporting as a journalism student at Northwestern. (Photo courtesy 90.5 WESA.)

Nicole Fallert reporting as a journalism student at Northwestern. (Photo courtesy 90.5 WESA.)

High school participants should know NECIR’s program is not high school. Grades don’t matter. The workshop is measured by how much effort budding reporters put into their stories, and the results will take them further than they know. When I entered my first college journalism class, I felt equipped to ask smart questions, conduct research and reach meaningful conclusions.

I’m still proud of the story I produced during my time at NECIR. The program solidified my decision to apply to a journalism college and reinforced that choice personally. I’m still in touch with the friends I was able to meet during the program, and we’ve all grown into such intelligent college students.

Boston is the perfect city to begin a journalism career because it’s so rich with stories. The diversity of people and history offer questions everyday that engage audiences. NECIR taught me not only how to utilize data, but also how to form a comprehensive narrative.

Nicole Fallert attended the NECIR Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop in 2014. She is now a sophomore at Northwestern University’s Medill School majoring in journalism and international studies. 

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REFLECTING ON THE 2016 SUMMER WORKSHOP: Sanya http://studentprograms.necir.org/reflecting-on-the-2016-summer-workshop-sanya/ Fri, 02 Dec 2016 14:39:24 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1058 This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop. By Sanya Sawlani, Illinois As I sat outside the College of Communications with my fellow campers on the first night of […]

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This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop.

By Sanya Sawlani, Illinois

As I sat outside the College of Communications with my fellow campers on the first night of the NECIR workshop, I wondered if I had made the right choice by hopping on a plane to Boston from Chicago. I asked myself questions like “Am I actually ready for a taste of college life?” or, “Do I really love journalism as much as I thought I did?” Rest assured the two weeks I spent at Boston University were some of the best and most eye-opening experiences I’ve had during high school.

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Sanya and her classmates in their BU dorm on move-out day.

In the first 24 hours alone I was introduced to people from North Carolina, Seattle, Milan, and so many places in between. My reasons for attending this workshop were to brush up and learn new techniques before taking over the role as Editor-in-Chief at my school’s online newspaper. The first day of classes were intense and I quickly knew I was at the right place.

Each day, I had the opportunity to work with amazing instructors who had endless insight on the profession and stories about every situation possible. In the morning, we attended class with Mr. Joe Bergantino, an award-winning journalist, who taught us skills like interviewing and what to do in tricky situations.

After lunch, we broke off into groups to meet with our afternoon professors and worked on our investigative pieces. Mr. Doug Struck, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, helped us conduct interviews on our topic of Boating Safety. Our interviewing process finally led us to the Boston Harbor. At first I was horrified, as my prior experience only had me interviewing people at school and I hardly ever ventured into the real world. I was mostly scared of rejection, but by the end of the day, I realized a strong journalist must be brave and fearless.

Now, I am fully confident in my abilities as Editor-in-Chief at my school’s publication, Devils’ Advocate. Every day I’m constantly recalling the basics and skills I learned at NECIR and passing them onto my staff.

Not only have I become a better journalist who now has the confidence to approach strangers, I made best friends and fell in love with the city of Boston.

It’s funny how quickly you can befriend someone when you’re both hungry at the middle of the night looking for pizza and snacking on Insomnia Cookies. The friends I made during these two weeks were encouraging, motivated, and people whom I still talk to daily.

On most evenings, we went on field trips to about every corner of the city. Some of my favorites were a shopping trip to Newbury Street, dinner at Faneuil Hall where I had the best Mac and Cheese, and a private tour of Fenway Park.

Living at Warren Towers was the perfect peek into college life before I started the dreaded application process. By the end of my stay at BU, I was confident of two things: my love for this school had become even greater and that journalism is something I cannot give up.

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Student Journalism Newsletter: November 30 http://studentprograms.necir.org/student-journalism-newsletter-november-30/ Wed, 30 Nov 2016 17:59:43 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1064 Wait, you mean Rory isn’t a Pulitzer-winning journalist? This month’s rundown: Turns out Rory Gilmore isn’t the killer journalist we thought: For anyone who watched the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix (uh, everyone?), we now know that at 32, Rory […]

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Wait, you mean Rory isn’t a Pulitzer-winning journalist?

This month’s rundown:

  • Turns out Rory Gilmore isn’t the killer journalist we thought: For anyone who watched the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix (uh, everyone?), we now know that at 32, Rory Gilmore is a struggling freelancer. That’s cool! But her ethics? Not so much. check out this piece from NPR on why grown-up Rory was a disappointing journalist.
  • Inspire us, Marty!: Marty Baron, currently editor at the Washington Post and made famous in Spotlight, has some advice for journalists. Baron said that this is a time in which “we are compelled to fight for free expression and a free press.” Read his full remarks in Vanity Fair.
  • Ohio State student journalists face ultimate challenge: This week, there was a tragic attack on Ohio State University’s campus. For the school’s student journalists, it hit close to home. Nick Roll, the campus editor of OSU’s student newspaper, The Lantern, ran toward the caution tape as soon as he hear the news. He knew it was his responsibility to cover the events as accurately as possible for his fellow students. USA Today has the story on how Roll and other OSU journalists handled covering the attack.
More than 160 budding reporters visited us in Boston last summer for the best two weeks ever. But don’t take our word for it, read what students had to say about their time in the city learning investigative journalism and making friends from around the country. Students who apply now and pay in full by January 31 receive $200 off tuition!

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Reflecting on the 2016 Summer Workshop: Izzy http://studentprograms.necir.org/reflecting-on-the-2016-summer-workshop-izzy/ Mon, 07 Nov 2016 16:40:00 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1046 This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop. By Izzy Chavez, California Flying across the country to explore the inner workings of investigative journalism through the New England […]

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This post is part of an occasional series of reflections written by students from our 2016 Summer Investigative Reporting Workshop.

By Izzy Chavez, California

Izzy (right) poses with classmates at BU's College of Communication. (Photo courtesy Izzy Chavez.)

Izzy (right) poses with classmates at BU’s College of Communication. (Photo courtesy Izzy Chavez.)

Flying across the country to explore the inner workings of investigative journalism through the New England Center for Investigative Reporting summer program at Boston University excited my passions and exceeded every expectation I had in the back of my mind. Inspiration flowed through every lecture, activity, and individual I came across and each day brought an exhilarating new experience in the city of Boston.

I started my days with basic reporting techniques, journalistic style lessons, and touching stories from Harry Proudfoot. My readiness to join the world of journalism grew intensely by the end of the two weeks. My knowledge of investigative journalism expanded greatly with every guest speaker that seized my attention and every article I studied. It was the night that we were shown the movie Spotlight, based on the work of Boston Globe investigative journalists who exposed the wrongdoings of Catholic priests, that my drive to write with a purpose became clear to me.

The most impactful assignment I accomplished was researching and putting together my own report about a prominent issue that society currently faces. Along with a group of my peers, I devoted my time and energy to learning about sex trafficking through the teachings of NECIR reporter, Jenifer McKim, and the stories of sex workers, psychologists, and activists.

Aside from the writing skills and inspiration that I attained from this experience, I was able to develop meaningful connections with the individuals I shared my trip with. From our mutual understanding of the significance that investigative reporting brings to society to the nights we spent exploring Boston and laughing endlessly, I was sure that this bond would last.

Come the end of the two-week program, I was left with a relentless desire to begin defining justice and bettering the world I live in through journalism. I felt privileged to experiences some of the most sincere and motivational discussions with respected journalists and fellow students. My time spent in Boston will forever hold a place in my heart as the birth of a new vision for my future.

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Student Journalism Newsletter: November 3 http://studentprograms.necir.org/november-student-journalism-newsletter/ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 17:56:17 +0000 http://studentprograms.necir.org/?p=1062 You need to know. We get it. As student journalists, you work really hard to inform your school and community about the issues that matter most. And while you’re making sure your school newspaper or online news site slays, we […]

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You need to know.

We get it. As student journalists, you work really hard to inform your school and community about the issues that matter most. And while you’re making sure your school newspaper or online news site slays, we at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting are trying to make your life a little easier. So, we created this monthly blast to give you the tools you need to know to get the job done.

Here, you’ll find journalism news, examples of standout work from student reporters, and tips from award-winning reporters and experts in the field. We hope it makes you feel like this:

This month’s rundown:

  • CENSORSHIP ON CAMPUS: An article critical of Donald Trump slated to be published in Liberty University’s official newspaper was censored by the school’s president. Read the full article in Politico to find out what the student reporter who wrote the article has to say.
  • AT YOUR SERVICE: Did you know the Student Press Law Center has all the answers to your questions on student First Amendment rights? Whether you need to know about your First Amendment rights as a student or are being threatened with censhorship, the SPLC has legal guides to help you out. You can even request to get free legal advice about your investigative articles! Check it out here.
  • EVERYBODY MAKES MISTAKES: Poynter is an awesome resource for journalists at any stage of their careers. Even if you think you’re the best writer at your newspaper (don’t worry, we won’t tell), the best reporters are always looking to get even better. Check out this piece on three ways to find and fix mistakes in your writing.
More than 160 budding reporters visited us in Boston last summer for the best two weeks ever. But don’t take our word for it, read what students had to say about their time in the city learning investigative journalism and making friends from around the country.

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