Interns report for Post, FRONTLINE

Monday, August 14th, 2017 

IRW interns from the spring and summer cohorts researched police accountability, low-income housing and charities renting Mar-a-Lago for major fundraisers, which led to stories with our partners, The Washington Post, PBS FRONTLINE and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, respectively.

The latest Post story, in an ongoing series about police, required filing open-records requests with the country's largest police forces. Thirty-seven departments complied and disclosed firing 1,881 officers since 2006. Of those, 451 successfully appealed and won their jobs back. The stories examine how and why this happens even when the underlying conduct and charges are undisputed.


Photo by Kris Higgins

Summer 2017 IRW interns, first row from left: Jerrel Floyd, Maya Wilson, Sarah Robertson, Andrea Lin. Back row: Clairissa Baker, Daniel Teehan, Reis Thebault, Catherine York, Alex Sabatell.

Graduate students in Workshop Senior Editor and Post reporter John Sullivan's practicum reported on the story over many months. Teaganne Finn, Josephine Peterson, Matt Hanan, Taylor Hartz, Jordan Houston and Shaun Courtney worked closely with Kimbriell Kelly at the Post and others on the investigative team to produce the final package.

FRONTLINE re-broadcast a 2013 co-production with the Workshop of "Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria" that included new reporting and filming from Houston about ongoing efforts to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Workshop intern Sarah Robertson wrote an update on two of the survivors followed in the original film.

The Workshop also combined forces with reporters and editors at the Chronicle of Philanthropy to look at fundraisers held at Mar-a-Lago and examine how lucrative these major events can be. Workshop intern Clairissa Baker found that many continue to flock to this exclusive resort — even when President Trump's policies are at odds with their charities' missions. Faculty member Margot Susca, who worked as an associate editor at IRW this summer, helped analyze Baker's findings.

Also published this summer: Workshop intern Mandy McLaren's ongoing education coverage, including whether charter schools are widening the racial divide in Louisiana. And IRW graduate intern Reis Thebault wrote about ethics waivers in the administration; whether they can be retroactive; and why these laws and codes originated.

Always aware that student journalists need support, intern Daniel Teehan profiled Frank LoMonte's nine-year tenure at the Student Press Law Center, a story that was co-published with

Summer students are finishing research this month on stories we'll publish in the fall with The Washington Post and in preparation for the next FRONTLINE collaboration. This year's team of students also included videographer and video editor Alex Sabatell and graphic designer Andrea Lin, both of whom created visuals to go with all the stories under way.

Recent News

IRW launches interactive on antibiotic resistance

The Investigative Reporting Workshop's new multimedia project features videos from previous FRONTLINE programs that uncover the stories of dangerous superbugs and failed antibiotics. "Nightmare Bacteria: Life Without Antibiotics" is an interactive feature that allows viewers to learn about the consequences of the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine and food-animal farming.  

Incubating new economic models for journalism.

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Students help Madden research, fact-check and gather information for stories, such as the  “Assault on Justice” project in 2015, which ooked at whether police were overusing the charge of assaulting a police officer. 



Workshop Partners

We publish online and in print, often teaming up with other news organizations. We're working now on a new program with FRONTLINE producers, to air later in the year, and on the "Years of Living Dangerously," a series on climate change that has begun airing on Showtime. A story last year on the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention centers was co-published with The New York Times. Our updates to our long-running BankTracker project, in which you can view the financial health of every bank and credit union in the country, have been published with, now, and we co-published stories in our What Went Wrong series on the economy with The Philadelphia Inquirer and New America Media. Our graduate students are working as researchers with Washington Post reporters, and our new senior editor is a member of the Post's investigative team. Learn more on our partners page.


Investigating Power update

Investigating Power update

Profiles of notable journalists and their stories of key moments in U.S. history in the last 50 years can be found on the Investigating Power site. See Workshop Executive Editor Charles Lewis' latest video interviews as well as historic footage and timelines. You can also read more about the project and why we documented these groundbreaking examples of original, investigative journalism that helped shape or change public perceptions on key issues of our time, from civil rights to Iraq, here.