Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Reporter Creates Investigative Journalism Courses at Northeastern University

February 4, 2008

Famed Boston Globe Reporter Returns to Alma Mater to Give Students a Unique Learning Experience

Distinguished Professor Walter Robinson recently introduced two innovative investigative reporting courses to Northeastern’s School of Journalism. Selected based on faculty recommendations and student work, the small groups of students work together to uncover their stories and divvy up the reporting and research as Robinson acts as their editor. He helps to guide them throughout the practice of “prospecting” a story and spends several classes discussing the process of interviewing. In the Spring and Fall semesters' of '07, the students produced six page one investigative stories that ran in The Boston Globe.

“Walter Robinson brings a wealth of experience to our program as one of the nation's leading journalists," said Stephen D. Burgard, director of Northeastern University's School of Journalism. "This benefits all of our students, and is of special interest to graduate students and select undergraduates interested in learning investigative reporting techniques from one of the industry masters."

Robinson won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for uncovering the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. He spent 34 years at the Globe where he directed their investigative unit, the Spotlight Team, from 2000 to 2006. Robinson came to the university in 2007 as a Distinguished Professor and created the courses.

Robinson keeps his classes at Northeastern small and organized like the "Spotlight Team" he led at the Globe.

“I think of the classroom as a newsroom,” said Robinson. “They are not ‘students’ but journalists. They are investigating and reporting real news.”

The courses give students “real-life” experience in and out of the classroom at a university known for its signature co-op program. Robinson’s classes have the opportunity to see first hand what an investigative journalist must go through from uncovering a story, interviewing sources and writing an in-depth piece of the highest quality to having their article published in a major daily newspaper. 

Robinson began his career as a Northeastern co-op student at The Boston Globe and joined the paper immediately upon graduation in 1974. He is currently teaching “Advanced Reporting” for undergraduates and “Seminar in Investigative Reporting” for graduate students.

For more information, please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or at s.fodrowski@neu.edu.

About Northeastern

Founded in 1898, Northeastern University is a private research university located in the heart of Boston.  Northeastern is a leader in interdisciplinary research, urban engagement, and the integration of classroom learning with real-world experience. The university’s distinctive cooperative education program, where students alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, is one of the largest and most innovative in the world.  The University offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in six undergraduate colleges, eight graduate schools, and two part-time divisions.  For more information, please visit www.northeastern.edu. 

For more information, please contact Samantha Fodrowski at 617-373-5427 or at s.fodrowski@neu.edu.

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