In the three years since stu­dents in North­eastern University’s School of Jour­nalism began pro­ducing inves­tiga­tive sto­ries for The Boston Globe, their work has made the front page and led to indict­ments of Boston fire­fighters and reforms in the Mass­a­chu­setts Pro­bate and Family Court system.

The jour­nalism school has an oppor­tu­nity to build on this momentum– gen­er­ated largely by Pro­fessor Walter Robinson’s inves­tiga­tive reporting sem­inar– through grants from two national foun­da­tions: a two-​​year, $100,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foun­da­tion, and a one-​​year, $50,000 grant from the Ethics and Excel­lence in Jour­nalism Foundation.

As a first step in expanding its inves­tiga­tive reporting pro­gram, the school will name Stephen Kurkjian, a three-​​time Pulitzer Prize-​​winner at The Boston Globe, its first Senior Inves­tiga­tive Fellow. In his new role, Kurkjian will oversee inves­tiga­tive and watchdog reporting projects for two Boston-​​area com­mu­nity news orga­ni­za­tions– the Dorch­ester Reporter and Cam­bridge Day.

Kurkjian will work on inves­tiga­tive pieces with edi­tors and reporters at the com­mu­nity news orga­ni­za­tions, which will also pro­vide North­eastern jour­nalism stu­dents with expe­ri­en­tial learning opportunities.

The foun­da­tion grants will also enable the cre­ation of a region-​​wide inves­tiga­tive reporting web­site designed to help com­mu­nity jour­nal­ists in the six New Eng­land states under­take more in-​​depth reporting. The site will offer search­able public data­bases, pro­vide links to public records and fea­ture a reg­ular blog by and for inves­tiga­tive reporters. The pro­gram will also sponsor regional inves­tiga­tive reporting workshops.

Jour­nalism is under­going a period of change, and one of the exciting inno­va­tions is work in uni­ver­sity set­tings like ours, both with stu­dents and now with com­mu­nity part­ners,” said Stephen Bur­gard, pro­fessor and director of the School of Jour­nalism.” We are grateful to these two foun­da­tions for assisting our expanded efforts. The col­lab­o­ra­tion of Steve Kurkjian and Walter Robinson marks the reunion of one of journalism’s great inves­tiga­tive reporting teams.”

Robinson, who worked with Kurkjian at The Boston Globe for many years, led the Globe’s inves­tiga­tive unit, the Spot­light Team, which uncov­ered the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in 2002. He and his team mem­bers, including Kurkjian, were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Ser­vice in 2003 for their ground­breaking work.